Paradigm shift in the car industry

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In its information report The automotive industry on the brink of a new paradigm? the EESC expects the GEAR 2030 High Level Groups and project teams to draw up an ambitious long-term industrial policy roadmap. A transition to electro-mobility and the development of connected cars and autonomous driving will need a comprehensive industrial policy in combination with a balanced climate, environmental and energy policy. Industrial policies should allow the automotive industry to maintain and develop a sophisticated industrial network. The burden of tax policies should be gradually shifted from excise duties on fuel to taxation on roads, ecology and infrastructure. The EESC supports the introduction of public-private partnerships (PPP) for the development of connected cars and autonomous driving, in tandem with the technologies to be brought into public infrastructure networks.

"The automotive industry is at a turning point. The challenges are manifold, including the future of the combustion engine, the supply chain or even who will drive the vehicle, if anyone. Nearly all that had been valid and universal in the car industry for decades is at stake now", argue Mr Georgi Stoev and Mrs Monika Sitarova Hrusecka, rapporteurs of the EESC report. The inevitable structural changes may disrupt all elements of the existing value chain. The traditional automotive manufacturing is likely to be strongly influenced by the IT sector, which will lead to new business models.

The EESC has identified four major challenges affecting the automotive industry:

  • electrification and de-carbonisation of transport;
  • digitalisation of the production process;
  • autonomous driving; and
  • connected cars as part of a new mobility concept.

The job challenge

The European car industry employs 2.3 million people. In addition, 10 million are indirectly employed in the sector, which is highly innovative as it accounts for 20% of industrial research funding in Europe. One out of three cars worldwide is produced in European assembly plants.

Digitalisation of the workplace will have an impact on jobs and skills. Social dialogue between employers and trade unions will ensure a smooth social transition for the automotive sector. Europe also needs to strongly invest in training and education. The challenge is to keep research and knowledge centres of excellence in Europe and make them work together with universities in order to design and develop the core competences.

"With our report, we want to emphasize the enormous challenges the car and automotive industry is facing, but also its huge potential for economic growth and new jobs, if we implement the right policy framework.  A forward-looking policy approach and Europe-wide coordination and cooperation are key to help the sector quickly adapt to changing conditions", concluded Mr. Stoev.


For more information, please contact:

Silvia Aumair

E-mail: pressateesc [dot] europa [dot] eu

Tel: +32 2 546 8141



The automotive sector