Tag Archives: Motor vehicle industry

Responding to the crisis in the European automotive industry

Responding to the crisis in the European automotive industry

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Responding to the crisis in the European automotive industry

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Motor vehicles > Interactions between the automobile industry and specific policies

Responding to the crisis in the European automotive industry

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 25 February 2009 – Responding to the crisis in the European automotive industry [COM(2009) 104 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication has the aim of getting the European automotive sector, which has suffered badly since the crisis of October 2008, moving again.

The position of the automotive sector in Europe

The European Union is the world’s largest producer of motor vehicles, producing over 18 million vehicles a year – a third of the world’s passenger cars. More than two million people work directly for this sector and twelve million indirectly.

The automotive sector therefore plays a strategic role in the Union. It makes a major contribution to GDP with an annual turnover of 780 billion EUR and a value added of more than 140 billion EUR.

However, since the beginning of the crisis during the last quarter of 2008, industrial production has dropped by 8.4%. The automotive sector is encountering many difficulties for the following reasons:

  • demand for passenger and commercial vehicles has dropped significantly, in particular due to the reduction in credit availability and declining purchasing power;
  • some companies in the automotive industry are having financial difficulties, in particular due to the reduction in credit;
  • long-term structural problems of overcapacity (currently 20% in Europe) are a handicap for automotive producers.

In addition, the forecast is for a reduction in demand for vehicles of between 12% and 18% in 2009, which will probably lead to a fall in production and threaten the jobs of 15 to 20% of the workers in the sector.

Planned strategy

The automotive sector must react quickly to the crisis by concentrating on three main challenges:

  • technology;
  • environment;
  • safety.

Europe must invest in research and development in “green vehicles” so as to implement a low-carbon economy. European regulations will enter into force in 2012 to this effect.

Industry and the public sector have an essential role to play in an approach which has four main aims:

  • to support demand in order to assist with remedying the effects of the credit squeeze;
  • to facilitate the adjustment by cushioning the costs associated with restructuring;
  • to encourage the modernisation of industry;
  • to adapt industry to the challenges of climate change.

The CARS 21 process is a strategic framework and may be modified according to future road transport and sustainable mobility requirements.

It appears to be essential to reinstate easy access to credit, by re-establishing financing at reasonable conditions and by restoring liquidity, so that consumers may once again purchase new vehicles.

Aid must be given to the financial sector and to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A temporary State aid framework was adopted in December 2008 (pdf ). This provides for subsidised loans for the manufacture of “green products” such as “green cars”.

The Commission and the European Investment Bank have planned to support industry that decides to invest in future technologies, in particular green technologies, through the 7th Research Framework Programme and the research partnership planned therein. This is a partnership between the public and the private sector covering:

  • the design of “green” vehicles (passenger cars, buses, trucks, urban vehicles, etc.);
  • infrastructure (for electric cars and hydrogen vehicles);
  • logistics.

The Commission has also studied the possibility of adopting a scrapping scheme.

The question of employment must also remain at the heart of the strategy for the automotive sector. The Commission proposes to implement the following measures via the European Social Fund (ESF):

  • support for short-time workers;
  • supporting company restructuring in this sector;
  • financing retraining;
  • anticipating change requirements;
  • matching skills.

Fair competition must become the basic principle in force on the market and a return to protectionism must be avoided.

Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Motor vehicles > Interactions between the automobile industry and specific policies

Motor vehicle distribution and after-sales service

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EU) No 461/2010 of 27 May 2010 on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices in the motor vehicle sector.

Summary

Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) exempts vertical agreements * which confer sufficient benefits to outweigh the anti-competitive effects. Regulation (EC) No 1400/2002, which expired on 31 May 2010, provided the motor vehicle sector with a specific block exemption for vertical agreements for the purchase, sale or resale of new motor vehicles and vertical agreements for the provision of repair and maintenance services for such vehicles and for the distribution of spare parts. Regulation 461/2010 replaces Regulation 1400/2002.

Vertical agreements relating to the purchase, sale or resale of new motor vehicles

Regulation 461/2010 applies Regulation No 330/2010 to vertical agreements concerning the purchase, sale or resale of new motor vehicles. However, to give operators time to adapt to the general regime, those provisions of Regulation No 1400/2002 which relate to such agreements are extended until 31 May 2013.

Vertical agreements relating to the motor vehicle aftermarket

Regulation 461/2010 also applies Regulation No 330/2010 to vertical agreements concerning conditions for the purchase, sale or resale of spare parts for motor vehicles, or for the provision of repair and maintenance services for motor vehicles, so long as these fulfil the requirements for exemption under Regulation No 330/2010, and do not contain any of the following hardcore restrictions described in Regulation 461/2010:

  • restriction of the sales of spare parts for motor vehicles by members of a selective distribution system;
  • restriction, agreed between a supplier of spare parts or repair equipment and a manufacturer of motor vehicles, of the supplier’s ability to sell those goods to authorised or independent distributors, repairers or end users;
  • restriction, agreed between a manufacturer of motor vehicles which uses components for the initial assembly of motor vehicles and the supplier of such components, of the supplier’s ability to visibly place its trade mark or logo on the components supplied.

In accordance with Regulation No 19/65/EEC, when parallel networks of similar vertical restraints cover more than 50 % of a relevant market, the Commission may decide that this regulation does not apply to vertical agreements that include specific restraints relating to that market.

Key terms used in the act
  • Vertical agreement: an agreement or concerted practice entered into between two or more undertakings each of which operates at a different level of the production or distribution chain, and relating to the conditions under which the parties may purchase, sell or resell certain goods or services.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation No 461/2010

1.6.2010 – 31.5.2023

OJ L 129 of 28.5.2010

Green vehicles: a European strategy

Green vehicles: a European strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green vehicles: a European strategy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Air pollution

“Green” vehicles: a European strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 28 April 2010 – A European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles [COM(2010)186 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication details several lines of action aimed at encouraging the development of “green” vehicles and the market uptake of these vehicles.

Vehicles covered by the strategy

The strategy proposed by the European Commission covers:

  • conventional vehicles using conventional internal combustion engines;
  • vehicles using alternative fuels such as liquid biofuels or gaseous fuels (LPG, CNG and biogas);
  • battery electric vehicles or the plug-in rechargeable type;
  • hydrogen fuel cell vehicles which produce water vapour.

This strategy concerns light- and heavy-duty vehicles, two- and three-wheelers and quadricycles.

The Action Plan established by the strategy covers the following areas with flagship initiatives.

Regulatory framework

This strategy will implement the framework relating to new passenger vehicles which sets CO2 emissions performance standards.

The Commission has proposed a Regulation on type-approval requirements for two- and three-wheelers and quadricycles. The Commission announces its intention to formulate a proposal to reduce the fuel consumption impact of mobile air conditioning systems. There will also be a future proposal on fuel consumption of, and CO2 emissions from, heavy-duty vehicles.

Supporting research and innovation

It is vital that research work is carried out on electric cars and those equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. The manufacturing of these cars and their components is expensive, but research would enable the costs to be reduced. In particular, new materials must be investigated for use in batteries and for storage of hydrogen, as well as alternative charging and energy storage technologies.

In this context, the Commission will propose a long term research strategy in the Strategic Transport Technology Plan and in the Communication on Clean Transport Systems.

Market uptake

Consumers have an important role to play with regard to the demand for green vehicles. To stimulate the latter, consumers must be informed of the multiple options, advantages and practical aspects of this type of vehicle. Similarly, financial incentives to buy vehicles represent interesting alternatives for encouraging their market uptake.

To this end, the Commission plans to present guidelines on financial incentives to consumers to buy green vehicles, which will encourage coordination of demand-side measures adopted in Member States. It also wishes to work on a revision of the energy taxation Directive with the aim of incentivising consumers to use conventional fuels efficiently and to gradually adopt alternative low-carbon emitting fuels.

The Commission will also ensure that the Directive on clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles is implemented.

Global issues Aspects

It is essential that there is a level playing field for everyone in the world markets. Similarly,
fair access to the raw materials
required for the production of hydrogen fuel cells should be ensured so that a potential shortage does not hamper the competitiveness of EU industry.

The Commission wishes to engage in standardisation activities in the world markets and to carry out regulatory cooperation initiatives.

Employment

With the prospect of a transition towards sustainable mobility, employees in the automobile sector must have suitable skills (which are quite rare at the moment) in the field of green vehicles. To make up for the lack of skills in the workforce, the Commission plans to use funding from the European Social Fund starting in 2011 to launch initiatives which encourage retraining and upskilling.

The Commission will also establish a “European Sectoral Skills Council”.

Specific actions for electric vehicles

A European framework for electric mobility does not currently exist. As a result, this Communication highlights several actions required to establish a regulatory framework for this technology.

Through working together with international partners at the UNECE, the Commission will propose technical rules relating to electric safety for vehicle type-approval.

In 2010 the Commission will mandate the European Committee for Standardization, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute to develop by 2011 a standardised charging interface to ensure interoperability and connectivity between the electricity supply point and the charger of the electric vehicle.

Furthermore, an adequate electric charging network needs to be developed in order to meet the needs of electric car users.

The Commission will also evaluate whether the promotion of electric vehicles will lead to the additional provision of low-carbon electricity generation.

Governance

The European strategy on green vehicles should contribute to the development of sustainable transport in Europe and reinforce Europe’s capacity to produce smart and sustainable products in a key sector. Implementing the strategy requires a significant level of effort and coordination between the automobile industry and electricity providers, gas companies, grid managers, electric component manufacturers, scientific and standardisation bodies, as well as EU, national and regional authorities, municipalities and consumers.

The Commission will ensure coordination and co-operation with Member States on the actions of this strategy in particular to secure the internal market, to avoid fragmentation of efforts, to create sufficient critical mass for the industry and to monitor and discuss national developments.

In order to facilitate collaboration with stakeholders, the Commission proposes to re-launch the “CARS 21” High Level Group with a revised mandate and extended stakeholder involvement.