Recommendations for public policy of the European automotive industry

In its Communication ‘A European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles’, the European Commission defined short- to long-term goals to support research and distribution, stimulate employment and encourage market uptake of green vehicles by consumers. Therefore, the Commission has considered it necessary to set up a group of experts in the field of competitiveness and sustainable growth of the automotive industry.

The new CARS 21 High Level Group will develop a realistic vision for “a competitive EU automotive industry and sustainable mobility and growth in 2020 and beyond.” The group will assist and advice the European Commission in implementing the policy set out by the EUROPE 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and its flagship initiatives on a resource efficient Europe and an industrial policy for the globalisation era in order to maintain a competitive and sustainable automotive industry.

The group, whose members are appointed by the European Commission, brings together relevant decision makers in the private and the public sector. The automobile industry is represented through manufacturers (ACEA, ACEM), distribution and repair associations (CECRA) and component and energy suppliers (CLEPA, EUROPIA, Eurelectric, ETRMA and AECC). Civil society is represented by the European Metalworkers’ Federation, the European Federation of Transport and Environment, the Institute for European Environmental Policy, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the European Transport Security Council and BEUC, the European Consumers’ Organisation. Nine Member States, the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee and the European Commission are represented as well.

The CARS 21 process is composed of a three-level structure:

• The High Level Group (Ministers, CEOs and Presidents of associations, among others) will lend political visibility and authority.

• The “Sherpa” group will be responsible for preparing the input to the High Level Group and for steering the various working groups.

• The Working groups, meeting between 3 and 6 times in 2011, will be responsible for more technical aspects according to specific topics: innovation, infrastructure, energy supply and use; trade and international harmonisation; industrial, social and territorial aspects of competitiveness; and internal market, emissions and CO2 policies.

The group is expected to deliver a final report in spring 2012 that will present the vision for a 2020 and beyond perspective. The report will include assessments of the appropriate types of products, technologies, industrial structure, business models, energy types and refuelling infrastructure, role in global markets and international benchmarks. Moreover, the report will propose a list of policy recommendations for consideration at the EU and international level, national or regional level, by authorities, private sector or civil society organisations.

CARS 21 Initiative website. Contact: