Commercial vehicle manufacturers: EU governments and institutions must take immediate crisis-relief

Leipzig/Brussels, 28/05/2009 - The European commercial vehicle manufacturers call upon the European Union and Member States to push economic recovery by investing in the infrastructure of the future, restoring broad access to financing, ensuring a supportive regulatory framework and stimulating vehicle fleet renewal.

  • to help viable businesses bridge the economic crisis
  • to boost progress towards sustainable growth
  • to safeguard the competitiveness of the EU economy

“This is not a normal cycle; we are experiencing the sharpest downturn ever. Governments must act to prevent the failing of viable businesses, and they must do so in a coordinated way”, said Leif Östling, CEO of Scania and chairman of the ACEA commercial vehicle manufacturers board, today in Leipzig at the International Transport Forum, a three-day conference gathering transport ministers from the EU. The Forum coincides with the EU Competitiveness Council, today in Brussels, which will assess crisis measures to support Europe’s industrial base.

The financial and economic crisis has triggered a marked drop in transport activity and subsequent sharp decline in demand for commercial vehicles. Order intake for heavy trucks stalled at 10,000 in the first quarter of 2009, compared to 100,000 a year ago. Adapting to the crisis, manufacturers expect commercial vehicle production to at least halve this year, putting great pressure on employment levels both at vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers. “Progress towards sustainable mobility requires a thriving industry. In the current extraordinary economic and financial situation, however, the relative cost of the regulatory burden on our industry increases. This is an issue that must be addressed. The legislative framework should be carefully scrutinised”, said Östling. “Furthermore, there are many infrastructural and construction projects planned for the future that could be launched right now.” Investments in sustainable mobility, energy and telecommunications networks will stimulate the economy in a focused way. Referring to the European elections early next month, Östling added: “This is an issue that the new European Parliament should embrace as well.” Governments must also act to restore the functioning of the financial system, said Östling. “The lack of credit is a particular problem in our industry. We have many customers that could show a valid business case for investing in new vehicles but are unable to finance these investments due to the overall lack of credit facilities.” Östling warned that the recession will lead to an aging vehicle fleet with negative environmental and safety repercussions. “This increases the need to make the overall transportation system more efficient and, for example, enlarge cargo capacity by allowing longer vehicle combinations on European roads. Governments should also introduce fleet replacement incentives across the EU so improving the environmental and safety performance of the vehicle fleet on the roads.”

Note to editors: The ACEA commercial vehicle members are Daimler AG, DAF Trucks, Iveco SpA, MAN AG, Scania AB, Volkswagen AG and AB Volvo. For further information, please contact Sigrid de Vries, Director Communications ACEA +32 2 738 73 45 or sv@acea.be Please also visit www.acea.be

The commercial vehicle industry is a key industrial asset for Europe

  • Commercial vehicle manufacturers invest yearly 4-5% of turnover in R&D
  • These investments will be significantly higher in 2009 and 2010 due to Euro VI technologies
  • European trucks are the most technologically advanced in the world
  • They lead globally in terms of active and passive safety innovations as well as environmental technologies
  • As such, European trucks, buses and vans are the first choice around the globe
  • The EU25 exported €11 billion worth of commercial vehicles in 2007

Production and employment

  • In 2007, some 2.6 million light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles were manufactured in the EU, generating revenues of nearly €70 billion
  • Direct employment in the sector is 250,000 jobs
  • Up to six times more jobs depend on the industry, including parts suppliers, distributors and dealerships, after-sales support and so on, bringing the total to 1.5 million jobs
  • A further 2.6 million people are employed by road transport operators

Extraordinary circumstances demand exceptional measures: What can the EU and national governments do?

General measures / Economic stimulus

  • Generate economic activity and trade
  • Improve consumer confidence
  • Invest in the infrastructure of the future
  • Dissolve the credit crunch
  • Safeguard a level playing field

Concrete, targeted measures for the commercial vehicle industry

  • Quick, ample and simplified access to finance for vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, SMEs and transport companies
  • Support for flexible employment schemes
  • Finance R&D
  • Encourage vehicle replacement
  • Carefully examine the legislative framework

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