The automotive industry is crucial for Europe’s prosperity. The automotive sector provides direct and indirect jobs to 13.8 million Europeans, representing 6.1% of total EU employment. 2.6 million people work in direct manufacturing of motor vehicles, representing 8.5 % of EU employment in manufacturing. 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.
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.