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The automotive industry on the brink of a new paradigm? (Information report)

The automotive industry on the brink of a new paradigm? (Information report)

The European car industry employs 2.5 million workers. Together they account for 8% of total value added in industry. Indirectly the sector provides employment for 12 million workers. European exports of cars are twice as big as imports, resulting in a large trade surplus. European assembly plants produce one out of three cars worldwide. The sector is highly innovative as it accounts for 20% of industrial research funding in Europe. The long tradition and accumulated know-how are making the automotive sector a stronghold of European industry. The industry is a world leader in terms of product innovation, flexible production (modular production systems), high-quality (premium) design, green engines and alternative powertrains, the management of complex value chains etc.

Despite the strengths of the European car industry, it is currently confronted with a large number of structural challenges, which could bring about a new industrial revolution in the sector. The sector will need to adapt to changing conditions and turn these challenges into opportunities. Among others,  Main challenges can be identified as:  mature markets; ongoing globalisation; sustainable development; consumer preferences are changing; the gradual automation  as part of the long-term evolution to self-driving cars; disruptive production technologies; or the need for electrification.


Practical information

Administrator in charge: Aleksandra Wieczorek / Assistant: Marie Noëlle STASSENS


  • 1st study group meeting: 03/11/2016
  • 2nd study group meeting: 16/12/2016
  • CCMI meeting: 30/01/2017
  • Plenary session: 22-23/02/2017


Study group composition


Presentations made during the Hearing on 03/11/2016:


Relevant EESC opinions:



Policy and strategy - Overview



Environment protection




EUR – Lex


European Parliament



Think tank



Related links and documents


Industry 4.0 relation with the Automotive Industry


External links (third party publications and articles)


Electric cars

Smart cars



Market trends (IBM & Paris Auto Show)