Most of the automotive plants in Europe came to a full stop or are in the process of temporarily suspending production.

The effect of the outbreak of coronavirus on society and the global economy is unprecedented, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), which warns about the grave consequences for the automobile industry.

It's not only Tesla in the U.S., the "Big Three", but basically all the manufacturers face the same problem. In Europe, most of the automotive plants temporarily suspended production.

"Across the European Union, vehicle manufacturers operate some 229 vehicle assembly and production plants, directly employing 2.6 million Europeans in manufacturing. The wider auto sector provides indirect and direct jobs for 13.8 million people [6.1% of all jobs] in the EU."

The reasons are simple - government measures to limit new infections and health concerns, combined with collapsing demand and supply shortages. We already saw what happened in China, when in February production and sales went down by roughly 80%.

The entire industry is affected, which soon we will feel also in our small plug-in electric car segment as well.

Those weaker manufacturers might not be able to rebound smoothly, hopefully in a month or two in the best-case scenario.

Eric-Mark Huitema, ACEA Director General said:

“It is clear that this is the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive industry. With all manufacturing coming to a standstill and the retail network effectively closed, the jobs of some 14 million Europeans are now at stake. We call for strong and coordinated actions at national and EU level to provide immediate liquidity support for automobile companies, their suppliers and dealers.”

ACEA urges for government support, but as the entire economy is affected, it's obvious that the needs exceed the government's capabilities.

The most important things for today is to:

  • keep the production and supply of spare parts going
  • keep vehicle service networks to maintain the logistics as well as emergency vehicles
  • keep the free flow of medicines, food, fuels, equipment and supply parts under all circumstances
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Coronavirus: EU auto industry faces unprecedented crisis

Brussels, 20 March 2020 – The effect of the coronavirus on society and the global economy is unprecedented, with grave consequences for the automobile industry. Indeed, most of the members of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) have already announced temporary closures of plants due to collapsing demand, supply shortages, and government measures, and are facing cases of corona infections and quarantines among their employees.

“It is clear that this is the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive industry,” stated Eric-Mark Huitema, ACEA Director General. “With all manufacturing coming to a standstill and the retail network effectively closed, the jobs of some 14 million Europeans are now at stake. We call for strong and coordinated actions at national and EU level to provide immediate liquidity support for automobile companies, their suppliers and dealers.”

Huitema: “We appreciate the policy measures that have already been announced, which will provide much needed immediate support for employees and companies alike. But we now also need an urgent dialogue with the President of the European Commission to do two things.”

“Firstly, to take concrete measures to avoid irreversible and fundamental damage to the sector with a permanent loss of jobs, capacity, innovation and research capability. Secondly, Europe should prepare to stimulate the recovery of our sector, which will be a key contributor to the accelerated recovery of the European economy at large.”

“We stand ready to work with the European Commission, national governments and other stakeholders to navigate through this unfolding crisis,” Huitema stressed.

Amid the unfolding situation, it is also important to keep the production and supply of spare parts going, as well as vehicle service networks. This is essential not only for the maintenance of vital logistics, but also for the work of emergency services like ambulances, firefighters, law enforcement, relief organisations and other public (medical) services.

Huitema: “The free flow of medicines, food, fuels, equipment and supply parts across the EU must be guaranteed under all circumstances.”

Across the European Union, vehicle manufacturers operate some 229 vehicle assembly and production plants, directly employing 2.6 million Europeans in manufacturing. The wider auto sector provides indirect and direct jobs for 13.8 million people in the EU. “The health of those people that are the backbone of our industry, and their families, is paramount to Europe’s automobile manufacturers,” said Mr Huitema.

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About ACEA

  • ACEA represents the 16 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, CNH Industrial, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • The ACEA commercial vehicle members are DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Ford Trucks, IVECO, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Volvo Group.
  • More information about ACEA can be found on www.acea.be or www.twitter.com/ACEA_eu.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.be, +32 485 88 66 47.

About the EU automobile industry

  • 13.8 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 6.1% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.4% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.5 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles account for €428 billion in taxes in the EU15 countries alone.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €84.4 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents over 7% of EU GDP.
  • Investing €57.4 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe's largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 28% of total EU spending.