Renault CEO Luca de Meo: how to save the car industry

In my view, this should be our top priority. We need a few clear principles and objectives, a plan and a dynamic review process so that we can constantly adapt, because what comes next will be no walk in the park.

As an antidote to the proliferation of diktats from the various authorities, let’s establish a one-stop shop for mobility and automotive regulations. Let’s foster the emergence of a framework of stable rules and standards across Europe, following the example of what the Chinese have successfully achieved.

Let’s put in place all the conditions for the emergence of structural projects and allow European champions to emerge in key technologies. Europe did it in the past: it is called Airbus.

It is just as urgent to finally coordinate the efforts of the many industries involved in the huge automotive transition that is already under way, because it is intertwined with challenges across other sectors, including those of the energy and digital sectors, which are undergoing their own revolutions.

For instance, the mining, chemicals, energy and manufacturing industries, plus infrastructure, national and local authorities all need to work together.

Their efforts have to be orchestrated across the entire value chain, from upstream to downstream. We also need to be alert to what our competitors are doing and to keep adapting. Faced with the challenge from China and the US, Europe must invent its own model.

A hybrid model between private initiative and public intervention should enable us first to protect and strengthen ourselves and then in the medium and long term go back on the offensive, always in a context of fairness and healthy competition.

European car makers are fully committed to decarbonisation: they are investing £200bn in electrification. But while they applaud the objective, they believe they should have a say about how it is achieved.

That could mean adopting a principle of technological neutrality, encouraging Europe’s 200 biggest cities to harmonise their mobility policies and setting up green economic development zones in each country to foster the emergence of industry or business clusters, where companies, innovators and suppliers can coexist to share resources and development.

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