EU-US automobile trade and production in context

Geneva, 6 March 2018 – In the margins of the Geneva motor show, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) reacts to recent discussions on possible tariffs on EU car imports to the United States by putting the trade relations between the two regions in context.

“ACEA’s members are global companies, and international trade is an important pillar of the European automobile industry’s competitiveness,” stated ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert. “Indeed, EU and US carmakers have been integrated for decades.”  ACEA therefore supports trade that is both free and fair, and respect for the international trade rules upon which these principles are based.

EU-US auto-related trade currently accounts for some 10% of total trade between the two regions. Today, the US is the third biggest exporter of cars to the EU in terms of value, representing a 15.4% share of EU imports in 2017. The US is the number one destination of EU car exports both in terms of units (with a 20.4% share of EU exports in 2017) and of value (29.3% share).

Jonnaert: “It is important to note that European manufacturers do not only import vehicles into the US, but that they have a major manufacturing footprint there, providing significant local employment and generating tax revenue. Indeed, some European manufacturers have their biggest plants not in the EU, but in the US.”

During discussions about a possible free trade agreement between the EU and the US, the so-called TTIP, manufacturers on either side of the Atlantic agreed that the elimination of tariffs and of non-tariff barriers through regulatory convergence would enable the automobile sector to lower costs and improve efficiency, while upholding high safety and environmental standards.


Notes for editors

  • ACEA represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • More information can be found on or @ACEA_eu.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director,, +32 2 738 73 45 or +32 485 88 66 47.

About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.6 million people - or 5.7% of the EU employed population - work in the sector.
  • The 3.3 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent almost 11% of EU manufacturing employment.
  • Motor vehicles account for almost €396 billion in tax contributions in the EU15.
  • The sector is also a key driver of knowledge and innovation, representing Europe's largest private contributor to R&D, with more than €50 billion invested annually.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of about €90 billion for the EU.