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European automotive sector calls for vehicle renewal incentives to kickstart economic recovery after COVID-19; 25-point action plan

The response to COVID-19 is having a major impact on the economy, with retail and manufacturing activity crippled without precedence and concerns mounting on consumer sentiment. The European automotive sector, which has been hit particularly badly, is proposing a plan comprising 25 actions to support a strong restart of the sector and the economy at large.

Targeting decision makers at EU and national level, the action plan lists tangible recommendations to exit from the COVID-19 crisis successfully. The plan was issued by the four associations representing the full automotive supply chain: from equipment and tire suppliers, to vehicle manufacturers, to dealers and workshops (ACEA, CECRA, CLEPA and ETRMA).

As part of the action plan, the sector calls for coordinated vehicle renewal schemes for all vehicle types and categories across the EU. This is intended to boost private and business demand, support economic recovery across the board as well as accelerate the rejuvenation of the vehicle fleet on Europe’s roads.

Purchase and investment incentives should be based on similar criteria across Europe, drawing on both national and EU funding. Such schemes should be enhanced by scrapping premiums, and should take into account society’s climate ambitions and resource-efficiency objectives in concert with the economic impact.

It is now crucial to bring the entire automotive value chain back into motion. We need a coordinated relaunch of industrial and retail activity, with maintained liquidity for businesses. Targeted measures will need to be taken to trigger demand and investment. Demand stimulus will boost the utilization of our manufacturing capacity, safeguarding jobs and investments.

—Eric-Mark Huitema, Director General of ACEA, the automobile manufacturers’ association

The 25 key policy recommendations:

  1. Issue harmonized guidance on health and safety precautions for the workplace

  2. Exempt transport of goods from border closures and align border control measures

  3. Maintain the central source of information on border measures set up by the Commission

  4. Grant uniform exemptions for cross-border commuting and necessary travel

  5. Consider temporary flexibilities in competition rules

  6. Use the deferral flexibilities offered by the Union Customs Code

  7. Reopen dealerships and motor vehicle workshops as soon as possible

  8. Introduce immediate vehicle renewal schemes for all vehicle categories across the EU

  9. Reinforce national renewal schemes with direct EU funding

  10. Direct EU funding tools at targeted public procurement of new vehicles

  11. Start the announced pilot for charging and alternative fuels infrastructure without further delay

  12. Speed up and facilitate investment in next-generation digital infrastructure

  13. Postpone all non-essential public consultations by at least 2 months

  14. Assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on industry-relevant legislation

  15. Restart the type approval process as quickly as possible

  16. Enforce EU market surveillance of applicable legislation

  17. Propose ambitious Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive amendments already in Q3 2020

  18. Speed up legislative proposals to support uptake of low-carbon and low-pollutant fuels

  19. Reflect “Just Transition” and the COVID-19 recovery in the Skills Agenda

  20. Speed up the regulatory work on Digitalization of Transport

  21. Ensure an ambitious Horizon Europe budget to support climate-neutral road transport system

  22. Enhance innovation-focused public procurement in transport and mobility through ESIF

  23. Extend the EIB future mobility initiatives to fund innovation

  24. Support up- and re-skilling of the labor force

  25. Rapidly establish a sectoral Skills Pact for the automotive sector

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