Message from the Secretary General - June 2016

Earlier this month, ACEA’s Board of Directors – made up of the Presidents and CEOs of our member companies – met in Berlin on the occasion of our association’s 25th anniversary General Assembly. Clearly, over these past decades, car and truck manufactures have played a key role in powering economic growth, spurring innovation, and driving safe and sustainable mobility for Europe and its citizens. But of course, we also recognise that the automobile industry has been going through challenging times recently.

Our silver anniversary therefore also serves as a moment of reflection, allowing us to think about past experiences and, most importantly, to look ahead at how our industry can do better tomorrow. Together with our members, we have used this moment to outline some of key challenges that industry and policy makers must overcome to deliver cleaner, safer and smarter mobility in the future. After all, we are already facing plenty of environmental and societal challenges, and demand for passenger and freight transport will only continue to grow in decades to come.

That’s why Europe’s automobile manufactures, already today, are actively investing to meet tomorrow’s mobility needs. Besides developing state-of-the-art vehicles that are fuel-efficient and low-emitting, manufacturers are also looking into completely new concepts, such as on-demand mobility solutions. Our industry’s positive outlook on innovation is precisely what we have now summarised and visualised with our Manifesto for Clean, Safe and Smart Mobility, which can be found here. Besides providing a glimpse of what tomorrow will bring, this richly-illustrated anniversary Manifesto also presents an overview of what progress has been made to date.

In the decades to come, ACEA will continue to contribute constructively to discussions with policy makers and other stakeholders to usher in a new era of mobility and to strengthen the global competitiveness of the automobile sector. Because we need an enabling policy framework if we are serious about stimulating growth and jobs in Europe. To that end, the Manifesto makes 10 policy recommendations to ensure that the mobility of the future will reach new levels in terms of environmental performance, safety, as well as automation and connectivity. Our industry will also continue to play its role as a driving force for innovation in Europe; the latest figures show that the automotive sector invests over €44.7 billion in innovation each year to make sure of that.

And talking of the latest figures, the 2016-2017 edition of the Automobile Industry Pocket Guide was also launched earlier this month. Updated with the latest data, this year’s Pocket Guide provides a clear overview of one of Europe’s strategic sectors. It contains key figures on employment, trade and environmental performance, also including data on vehicle production, registration, use and taxation. More than ever is our sector an engine for growth in Europe, but we need the right policies in place to retain our competitive edge and to create jobs across the value chain.

The latest employment data show that 12.2 million Europeans now work directly or indirectly in the automotive sector, producing 18.4 million cars, vans, trucks and buses a year. A fleet of 291 million motor vehicles provides efficient mobility and transport solutions across the EU. In 2015, 15.8 million new motor vehicles were sold in the EU, with automobile trade generating a healthy trade surplus of more than €100 billion. Addressing the challenges visualised in our Manifesto will require a tremendous effort on part of Europe’s car manufacturers, but the figures in our new Pocket Guide show that we are facing them from a position of strength.

Erik Jonnaert
Secretary General of ACEA

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