Auto Parts Makers Lobbying to Delay EU’s Decarbonization Agenda

Auto Parts Makers Lobbying to Delay EU’s Decarbonization Agenda

Pushback comes as EU considers new CO2 emission standards

Key players in the European auto parts manufacturing sector are lobbying to weaken or delay EU policies designed to decarbonize the transport sector, according to new analysis from climate think tank InfluenceMap.

InfluenceMap's latest investor briefing is a systematic analysis of climate lobbying from an often overlooked part of the auto supply chain. It focuses on the activities of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and Europe’s leading automotive supplier and key CLEPA member, Robert Bosch (Bosch).

These organizations score a D and D+ respectively on InfluenceMap's A to F system of measuring policy engagement against the goals of the Paris Agreement, indicating obstructive climate policy engagement.

It shows that while both organizations have made increasingly positive-sounding statements on long-term climate policy, they have also been pushing back against the various policies designed to help the bloc meet its climate targets. This includes:

  • Both CLEPA and Bosch submitted EU consultation responses opposing a 2035 zero-emissions CO2 target for vehicles, pushing claims of potential loss of jobs if it goes ahead.

  • Both organizations have promoted 'technology-neutral' climate policies that appear to favor the long-term use of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles over the electrification of transportation.

  • CLEPA and Bosch have consistently advocated for the long-term use of ‘e-fuels’ to prolong the lifespan of ICE-powered vehicles in Europe, lobbying for ‘e-fuel’ credits to be included in the EU’s CO2 standards. This could potentially weaken the stringency of that regulation. Recent studies have found that ‘e-fuels’ are too inefficient and expensive to power road transport in Europe compared with electric vehicles, and produce similar levels of local air pollutants, including NOx, as conventional fuels.

The research also shows how both CLEPA and, to a lesser extent, Bosch have had extensive access to EU officials involved in designing relevant climate policies. During 2021 alone, CLEPA met European Commission representatives seven times, including with a cabinet member in Commissioner Frans Timmermans’ office.

Policymakers within the European Parliament are today due to discuss CO2 emission standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

The analysis shows that the policy advocacy undertaken by CLEPA and Bosch contrasts with some of the continent’s biggest car makers, such as Volkswagen and Volvo, which are increasingly supportive of the shift from ICE to electric vehicles.

It also follows recent reports highlighting Bosch’s role in the UK’s anti-EV Astongate scandal in the UK, and comments in 2021 from Bosch’s then CEO criticizing the EU’s ‘fixation’ on electric cars.

InfluenceMap analyst Kalina Dmitriew said: “This research highlights the climate policy lobbying efforts of an often overlooked part of the auto manufacturing supply chain.

“It shows that even though both CLEPA and Bosch claim to take climate change seriously, their actions risk undermining the EU’s policy efforts to decarbonize the transport sector.

“Much of this policy advocacy has been able to happen in the background, while public attention is more focused on the consumer-facing auto brands.

“If the EU is to be successful in decarbonizing the transport sector, it is likely all parts of the supply chain need to be involved and their advocacy properly scrutinized."

Full report, graphics, and quotes at this landing page.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Simon Cullen, Communications Manager, InfluenceMap (London) E: simon.cullen at influencemap.org