Growth

Automotive industry

Automotive industry

The automotive industry is crucial for Europe’s prosperity. The sector provides jobs for 12 million people and accounts for 4% of the EU’s GDP. The EU is among the world's biggest producers of motor vehicles and the sector represents the largest private investor in research and development (R&D). To strengthen the competitiveness of the EU automotive industry and preserve its global technological leadership, the European Commission supports global technological harmonisation and provides funding for R&D.

In the spotlight

Why the automotive industry is important

  • Links to other sectors – the automotive industry has an important multiplier effect in the economy. It is important for upstream industries such as steel, chemicals, and textiles, as well as downstream industries such as ICT, repair, and mobility services;
  • Employment - around 12 million people work in the EU automotive sector. Manufacturing accounts for 3 million jobs, sales and maintenance for 4.3 million, and transport for 4.8 million;
  • Economy - the automotive sector accounts for 4% of European GDP.

80% of the growth in the sector is expected to occur outside the EU. The EU's efforts should focus on concluding and enforcing preferential trade and investment agreements. These will make it easier for European companies to access third markets and continue benefiting from economies of scale.

What the Commission does

  • Global technical harmonisation – the Commission focuses on global technical harmonisation. Common technical requirements (UNECE framework) help reduce development costs and avoid duplication of administrative procedures. Harmonisation is key to strengthening the competitiveness of the EU automotive industry;
  • Research and development - the Commission has more than doubled the funds avaliable for cooperative research and innovation in the automotive sector for the period 2014-2020. The funding focuses on green vehicles, decarbonisation of conventional engines, safety, and information technology infrastructure. The aim is to preserve the EU’s technological leadership in the automotive sector.

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