European car industry lobby group the ACEA will become more “assertive” in future in the face of rising global competition and costs connected to the switch to electrification, incoming president Luca de Meo has said.
The ACEA’s impact as a lobbyist has waned over the years as the European Union clamped down on CO2 output, leading to the ban on new ICE cars in the region from 2035.
The timeframe is a source of frustration with the automotive industry, which believes it hasn’t been given long enough to replace decades-old supply chains in the switch to electric.
“We want the voice of the automotive industry to be more and more relevant, which hasn’t always been the case in the last years,” said Renault Group CEO de Meo. “We want to be transparent and more assertive.”
De Meo replaces Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW, who stepped down after taking the job in 2020. The chair of ACEA is usually held by industry executives who are elected for a period of one year, renewable for a second year.
The new president said the ACEA would broaden its communication to enable its voice to be better heard, as well as partnering with different organisations. “We open to debate even with people who don’t necessarily share our point of view,” he said.
De Meo hinted that ACEA might follow the example of Stellantis, which last year quit ACEA to approach lobbying with a different format. “We will stage in the next few months a new approach to some of the issues,” de Meo said.
The ACEA will join forces with other stakeholders and “respectable institutions” to publish reports that “aren’t coming from the communications departments from OEMs”, de Meo promised.
One of Stellantis’s new approaches to lobbying since leaving the ACEA has been to assemble the Freedom of Mobility Forum, to be held on 29 March, which brings together representatives of energy providers, transport institutes and youth groups.
“The forum will feature a circle of debaters who will share a fact-based approach to preserving freedom of mobility for society in the face of global warming implications,” Stellantis said in a statement.
Car makers want to get the point across that electric mobility as it stands is too expensive to become a direct replacement for the ICE vehicle industry and as such would threaten Europe’s place at the forefront of the global automotive economy, as well as slowing down the shift out of ICE vehicles.