European Automotive Suppliers & EU Climate Policy

An InfluenceMap Briefing

January 13th, 2022

How Auto Parts Makers are Lobbying to Delay EU’s Decarbonization Agenda

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InfluenceMap analysis shows how the auto parts manufacturing sector has deployed policy engagement strategies to undermine road transport emission regulations in Europe. The research underscores how the accelerating, regulatory-driven shift to electric mobility represents a major challenge for the sector.

Focusing on Robert Bosch GmbH (Bosch), Europe’s leading automotive supplier, and the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), the EU's primary industry association for auto parts manufacturers, InfluenceMap’s analysis finds that both organizations strategically lobbied against the European Commission’s proposal for an effective internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle phase-out from 2035 in 2020-21.

However, it also highlights a potential misalignment between the two organizations since September 2021 when former Bosch CEO, Volkmar Denner, appeared to communicate a partial shift in the company’s position on CO2 standards, while CLEPA has remained oppositional. Despite this, Bosch remains a member of CLEPA’s board.

The briefing comes as the ENVI Committee in the European Parliament will host an exchange of views on the CO2 draft report on 13 January 2022. This will commence a year of negotiations around CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans following the European Commission's proposal on ICE vehicle phase-out from 2035 in the Fit for 55 legislative package, which mandates a 55% fleetwide CO2 emissions cut from 2030, and a 100% target five years later.

While the auto parts sector has significantly less economic clout than the automaker sector (employing 0.9 million in Europe as compared to 2.6 million) its influence over EU Parliament and Council could still be highly significant. Both CLEPA and Bosch have linked the EU’s 2035 zero-emissions CO2 target to high future unemployment rates in the auto parts manufacturing industry in their communications.

The analysis furthers InfluenceMap's investigation into the automotive sector's fragmentation on EU climate policy. It follows a November 2021 briefing on German automakers which found that while Volkswagen has shown growing support for the EU’s 2035 zero-emissions CO2 target, BMW is leading negative German automaker lobbying against the policy.

Correction (12/01/2022) – The analysis in this briefing has been edited to recognize former Bosch CEO’s September 2021 speech at IAA Mobility Conference that indicated a shift in position from the company towards the European Commission’s proposal on CO2 standards for cars and vans.

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