2014 was a year of change for the industry, with sales of both passenger cars and commercial vehicles recovering consistently for the first time since the economic crisis of the late 2000s. Much was achieved in 2014, but more needs to be done this New Year.
We should react cautiously to these early signs of recovery, given the economic uncertainties still current in many countries in both Europe and the world. Several emerging markets are experiencing a slowdown in growth which will also inevitably affect growth expectations in the global automotive industry.
ACEA hopes that, within Europe, governments and the EU institutions will work constructively together to elaborate and implement an agenda for more growth and greater competitiveness for our industry.
The automobile industry wishes to specifically ensure a continued focus on innovation, which is an engine for growth, focusing on developing vehicles which are cleaner, safer and smarter. In 2015, cooperative ITS and automation should continue their march towards becoming instrumental in providing new mobility solutions.
The automotive industry is committed to working together with the EU institutions and other relevant stakeholders to make progress on a number of dossiers which are underway at European level that will affect the automotive industry directly. Many of these will reach their concluding phases or their actual dates of implementation in 2015.
These include efforts underway to meet the 2015 CO2 targets for both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Our industry is hopeful that the global climate change conference at the end of this year will agree on a global framework which will provide clarity on future environmental goals. The environmental challenges ahead are of a global nature and require a consistent, global response. The automobile industry will be ready to demonstrate how our industry can play a role.
Regarding improving air quality, the Euro 6 emissions limits enter into force for all new vehicle registrations. It is also expected that the new Real Driving Emission (RDE) procedures will begin to be used in a monitoring phase for new diesel engine vehicle approvals.
The industry is contributing actively to the Commission’s efforts to adopt new test cycles on emissions through both WLTP and RDE; it will be important that we continue making progress in these discussions, with particular attention given to technical precision and the correct pace of implementation.
Type approval is being reviewed in 2015 and is likely to include market surveillance provisions, which is a development beyond the existing system.
In the field of commercial vehicles, the Weights & Dimensions dossier is reaching its conclusion, which will have a significant impact on the future design and deployment of heavy trucks.
In all these dossiers, the impact on product development and manufacturing will be significant, triggering the need for additional investment and adding to manufacturers’ costs. Some of these new investments may be justified, but our industry will want to make sure that the result is balanced.
Given the new Commission’s ambitious agenda for growth and jobs in Europe, the automotive industry will be keen to engage actively with Europe’s new policy makers. The automobile industry offers its support in turning their general agenda into concrete and tangible results for a sector that currently accounts for 12.7 million jobs in Europe.