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December 2023

An 'holistic' approach to the challenges of the automotive industry: ACEA launches the roadmap for the European mobility ecosystem of the future

Francesca Del Bello

Supply chains, production and demand are the pillars underpinning the manifesto launched by the Association that brings together European vehicle manufacturers: the announcement directly from newly elected president de Meo
Just days before the start of negotiations at COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (which, at the time of writing, is entering its final phase), Luca de Meo, president of ACEA - the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association and CEO of the Renault Group, presented the Manifesto for a Competitive Mobility Ecosystem.

“Our sector is in the midst of the biggest transformation in over a century,” said de Meo. “There is no question for us about the need to decarbonise. We are investing billions to make this happen – far more than any other sector.”
A Manifesto, the one presented by ACEA, accompanied by a roadmap based on three pillars - supply chains, production and demand - that directly addresses the next European Parliament and Commission, in view of the European elections in June 2024. Elections that, on the subject of automotive sustainability, could hold some surprises. In fact, not only is 2035 approaching, the year from which the sale of vehicles powered by endothermic engines should be banned, but an equally decisive date, that of 2026 when, on the basis of the technological milestones achieved, the European Commission could proceed with a review of the targets set. And there are already those who, according to some German media sources, promise in the event of victory a complete reversal of what has already been set.

A turnaround that, given what is already being done within the sector now seems undesirable. One thing is certain, however: this revolution will have to be supported by the EU in a more structured manner than has been the case so far, adopting an approach described as holistic by De Meo himself. "Our industry has on average eight or nine EU regulations that will come into force every year until 2030; in some cases these are conflicting regulations," explained the ACEA president. "Europe urgently needs to take a holistic approach to the challenges of the automotive industry, encompassing the entire value chain, from upstream to downstream. Because the problems we are facing cut across several sectors: automotive, mining, energy, infrastructure and beyond. If you look at our global competitors, you can see that they are very good at it."

Hence the launch of the Manifesto 'A Competitive European Auto Industry, Driving the Mobility Revolution', in which ACEA sets out its vision of an industry capable of fostering not only sustainability, but also highly skilled jobs in Europe, a safe and reliable transport system, competitiveness on a global scale and affordable mobility for all. All of this is based, as mentioned, on three pillars: supply chain, to ensure a reliable supply of components and energy; production, to turn Europe into a hub for the manufacture of green and smart vehicles; and demand, to increase the domestic market for zero-emission vehicles.

A structured path, therefore, that looks to the future of the continent's mobility by placing it firmly in a competitive perspective also on a global scale: 'Europe must not only ensure that it is as well-equipped as other regions. It must also make sure that it competes on a level playing field. Competition is very healthy, and real competition also means open global markets and free and fair trade rules,' concluded de Meo.

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