With 12 million sector-related jobs the automotive industry is vital for Europe's prosperity and job creation. The EU needs to maintain a world-class car industry, producing the most energy efficient and safe vehicles globally and providing high-skilled jobs to millions. To make this happen, the European Commission tabled in November 2012 the CARS 2020 Action Plan aimed at reinforcing this industry's competitiveness and sustainability heading towards 2020. In October 2014, after two years of intensive work, the CARS 2020 process has been completed with the final report.
CARS 2020 Report on the state of play of the outcome of the work of the High Level Group - October 2014
When the CARS 2020 Action Plan was published in November 2012 (Press release + Memo), the European automotive industry was facing severe difficulties resulting from unprecedented fall of demand in the EU market. The launch of the CARS 2020 High Level Group a few months lates had as an objective to ensure that the commitments taken by the Commission aiming at supporting the sector in those difficult times were properly implemented and that they will not only serve as a temporary aid but will strengthen the automotive industry in the long run.
In October 2014, after two years of intensive work, the CARS 2020 process has been completed with the final report. The report has been built upon the outcomes of the work of the CARS 2020 High Level Group and outlines not only the achievements but also indicates the direction for future short and medium term actions, which need to be taken in order to maintain and further strengthen the competitiveness of the European automotive sector.
Expert Group CARS 2020 and the Public hearing on the implementation of the CARS 2020 Action Plan
In line with the CARS 2020 Action Plan, the Commission launched a new Expert Group CARS 2020 in early 2013. This Group provided a stakeholder forum for discussion and strategic advice and aimed to ensure that the measures set out in the CARS 2020 Action Plan are implemented.
- Terms of Reference of the CARS 2020 Expert Group [69 KB]
- Composition of the CARS 2020 Expert Group [70 KB]
The work of the group was carried out in the form of Sherpa meetings, and several meetings of the following working groups: Working Group "Clean Vehicles, Electromobility and Alternative Fuels", Working Group "Economic situation, industrial change and social issues", Working Group "Internal market" and Working Group "Trade and International Harmonisation".
The agendas of the meetings, presentations and meeting reports can be found here.
In addition, a public hearing on the implementation of the CARS 2020 Action Plan took place on 14 February 2014 in Brussels. By means of this public hearing the Commission seeked to engage sector stakeholders and report on the progress implementing the Action Plan commitments taken by the Commission, including the work of the various Working Groups pertinent to the interest of the European automotive sector. Agenda and presentations.
Key achievements in implementation of CARS 2020 Action Plan
Reform of the UNECE 1958 Agreement
In the area of trade policy the CARS 2020 Action Plan has identified the acceptance of international vehicle regulations established under the UNECE 1958 Agreement as the best way to remove non-tariff barriers to trade. Agreeing on common regulations with other major markets around the world offers in addition the benefits of lower compliance costs and economies of scale.
In order to achieve a wider acceptance and application of these international vehicles regulations, the UNECE 1958 Agreement has to be modernised to accommodate the needs of countries with emerging automotive industries and markets. The overall objective of this reform is promoting the principle of mutual recognition of certificates ("tested once, accepted everywhere"), whilst at the same time ensuring and maintaining the highest levels of safety and environmental performance.
Therefore, and as a matter of priority the Commission has announced in the CARS 2020 Action Plan that it will steer the development of a first proposal for the reform of the 1958 Agreement.
To meet this commitment, the Commission has taken the leadership of a UNECE/WP.29 task force in charge of preparing such a proposal with a view to achieving the two major objectives of the reform process: increasing the attractiveness of the 1958 Agreement and ensuring that it remains fit and robust to face successfully future challenges and developments in the continuingly changing global automotive market.
These draft proposals have been presented to and welcomed by WP.29 in March 2013 and are setting out a clear direction and high level of ambition for finalising this important reform process within UNECE/WP.29 at the latest by 2016.
Press release [65 KB] - 12.03.2013