The many aspects of leading the world – CLEPA Newsletter Editorial October 2019

The intense hearings, these days in Brussels of the Commissioners-designate, are helping to lift the veil on not just what the new EU leadership plans to do but also on how. Yet, much still remains in the conceptional phase, with unchartered territories in important fields including competition policy, technology leadership, sustainable finance and a carbon border tax, to name just a few. If one thing is clear, it’s the magnitude of the challenges ahead and the amount of cooperation across traditional lines which will be needed to achieve results.


The European automotive suppliers contribute to this thought process with their vision paper “Future as we Move – Shaping Solutions for Mobility”. This paper provides a vision of the future of mobility and, hence, of the mobility industry. It captures the diverse views of the European automotive supplier community as the industry undergoes the biggest transformation in its 125 year history.


Industry is to capitalise on biggest transformation in history


The paper outlines how European suppliers, in close cooperation with car and truck manufacturers, high-tech companies, regulators and other stakeholders, expect to shape tomorrow’s mobility landscape. It presents the strategies being deployed to reduce road casualties and limit the environmental impact of people and goods transport and looks at the huge potential of vehicle connectivity and automation.


Suppliers also highlight what needs to be undertaken to assure the continued competitiveness of the European parts & components industry, which is both an essential part of the automotive value chain and a major European manufacturing sector that employs millions of people.


The industry’s vision, for that reason, states that the future will be safe, sustainable, smart and competitive. Innovation and technology leadership are key prerequisites to sustain a vibrant industry that will benefit companies, their work forces, the overall economy and consumers.


Innovation and technology openness are key prerequisites


Society looks for innovative solutions to deal with air pollution, urbanisation, traffic congestion and new customer requirements. These challenges are driving changes that are redefining the automotive supply chain as well as the traditional business of automakers and suppliers worldwide. The leadership position long held by European automotive suppliers in key areas of technology and innovation will help the industry capitalise on the opportunities that exist today.


Mobility will become more electric and suppliers will adjust and provide more of the technology required for the new powertrains. Vehicles will become more highly automated and suppliers will make sensor- and artificial-intelligence-powered safety and assistance systems that are up to the challenge. And, as the auto industry moves toward new, shared business models, the supplier community will play a leading role in the development of novel concepts for this exciting new field.


‘Just transition’ cannot be left an empty shell


Like with all new trends, the transformation of the auto industry brings opportunities but also comes with challenges to existing businesses, revenue streams and employment. The automotive industry already today faces significant skills shortages and runs large programs to retrain and upskill employees. Both the Digital Age and the Green Deal are creating new jobs, for certain, yet many of these jobs are of a different type, for other people, in different locations. That’s why the anticipated ‘just transition’ cannot be left an empty shell in the process of transforming our economies. Nor can the principle of technology neutrality. These are components of leading the world that need thorough reflection and effort, too.


Automotive suppliers are solution providers. The industry’s vision is an optimistic one with regard to the future of the industry and mobility as a whole. They look beyond the battle cry and focus on actions on the ground. In concert with all stakeholders in society, Europe will successfully lead the transition to the highly diverse and very different world of new mobility.


Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General




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