"The Parliament underlines that the financial and economic crisis causes serious problems and that the automotive industry is particularly hard hit. The Parliament puts its full political weight behind support measures from European institutions and governments and stresses that urgency is key", says Ivan Hodac, secretary general of the vehicle manufacturers' trade association ACEA.
The European Parliament calls on EU member states and Commission to: - Increase the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank - Speed up and simplify access to credit - Coordinate fleet renewal measures throughout the EU - Support measures to retain a high-skilled workforce - Facilitate and sustain high levels of R&D - Ensure a balanced and fair trade agreement with South-Korea - Scrutinise new regulatory proposals to ensure competitiveness
"As the Parliament states, the current crisis is caused by the credit crunch and the rapid deterioration of demand. These factors outweigh by far the more structural issues that manufacturing sectors are facing in today's globalised economy. The auto manufacturers have responded swiftly, but the extraordinary circumstances demand exceptional measures to ensure employment and investments", Hodac adds.
The European automobile industry is a competitive, Ä 550 billion turnover industry with a strong commitment to manufacturing world-leading, high-tech automobiles in Europe. "The automotive industry is essential to the EU economy. It is the engine of the manufacturing industries, one of the biggest employers in Europe, the largest investor in innovation and R&D, and a formidable export force", says Hodac.
Lower levels of automotive manufacturing in Europe have a large spiralling effect on the wider economy because of the thousands of small and medium sized companies involved in the supply chain, vehicle sales and after-sales services. Due to the crisis, sales have declined now for 10 consecutive months, with 2.3 million (-15.3%) fewer new passenger cars and commercial vehicles registered from May 2008 to February 2009 than a year earlier. Vehicle production is forecast to decline by 25% in 2009.
The ACEA members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT Group, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, Porsche, PSA Peugeot CitroŽn, Renault, Scania, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen and Volvo. They provide direct employment to more than 2.3 million people and indirectly support another 10 million jobs. Annually, ACEA members invest Ä20 billion in R&D, or 4% of turnover.