European automotive manufacturers highlight the importance of R&D investments to secure competitiveness


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The European Council for Automotive R&D  (EUCAR),  assembled in Brusselsf or its annual conference, emphasised the
need   for   accelerating   R&D  investments  to  secure  the  industry’s competitiveness  and,  in  addition,  discussed  the     potential  for  the   electrification of the vehicle.

EUCAR   chairman  professor  Jürgen  Leohold,  Executive  Director  Group
Research  Volkswagen,  presented  the  new “EUCAR FOCUS” brochure to Anne
Houtman  from  the  European Commission Directorate General for Transport
and  Energy.   The  EUCAR  FOCUS  specifies  the major strategic research
topics and activities for the coming years: urban mobility and transport,
alternative fuels, electrification of the vehicle, safety applications in
cooperative  systems,  innovative  materials and environmentally friendly

In  his  opening  speech,  Professor  Leohold  stated: “Through intensive
research  and  close  cooperation  with the European Commission and other
main  stakeholders,  these  research  topics  can be decisively advanced.
Especially  in  the  current  financial  situation,  innovation  must  be
accelerated,  in  order  to  secure  the long term competitiveness of the
European automobile industry.”

A  panel  including  automotive manufacturers, suppliers, the electricity
industry   and   the   European  Commission  debated  the  potential  for
electrification  of  the  vehicle.  They  shared  the conclusion that the
potential   of   electric  vehicles  is  great,  but  the  challenges  to
implementation  remain  significant.  Mrs  Houtman, while recognising the
electrification  of  the vehicle as an important contributor to improving
air  quality,  reducing  CO2  emissions  and  fuel consumption as well as
future  mobility  in  general, addressed the challenges as well: “I would
like  to  encourage  all stakeholders – electricity providers, automotive
industry  and  operators  –  to  join  their  forces  to establish common
standards for the charging systems”, she said.

Further  panels  on urban mobility, safety applications and materials and
manufacturing  brought  together the members of the EUCAR Council as well
as  other experts from the automobile industry and the research community
to discuss the automotive research needs for the future and the status of
current collaborative research projects.

EUCAR is the European Council for Automotive R&D from the major European
passenger car and commercial vehicle manufacturers. EUCAR facilitates and
coordinates pre-competitive research and development projects and
participates in a wide range of collaborative European R&D programmes.
The European automobile manufacturers are the largest private investors
in R&D in Europe with around EUR 20 billion investments per annum, or 4%
of turnover. EUCAR members are BMW, DAF, Daimler, Fiat, Ford Europe,
GME/Opel, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, Scania, Volkswagen Group
and Volvo. EUCAR is closely connected to ACEA, the European Automobile
Manufacturers Association.