The European car industry offers a job to 2,5 million workers. Together they stand for 8% of total value added in industry. Indirectly the sector provides employment to 12 million workers. European exports of cars are twice as big as imports, resulting in a large trade surplus. The European assembly plants produce 1 out of three cars worldwide. The sector is highly innovative as it accounts for 20% of industrial research funding in Europe. The long tradition and accumulated know-how are making the automotive sector a stronghold of European industry. The industry is world leader in terms of product innovation, flexible production (modular production systems), high-quality (premium) design, green engines and alternative powertrains, the management of complex value chains, … .
Despite these strengths the car industry is currently confronted with a large number of structural challenges, which can bring about a new industrial revolution in the sector: the electrification of cars, the introduction of self-driving cars, the digitalisation of production, the de-carbonisation of transport, the globalisation of the sector,…. The automotive sector (and its workers) will need to adapt to these changing conditions and turn these challenges into opportunities.