The European automotive industry is facing increasing challenges in the form of growing competition from China. This concerns not only the production and import of cars, but also individual components. In an article published on Automobilwoche, author Gerd Scholz analyses the current state and development of the automotive sector, which Europe has dominated for many years. He provides an important insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the European automotive industry and highlights the importance of innovation and adaptation in a dynamically changing global environment.
European suppliers, which until recently boasted massive exports of many billions of euros, are now facing a major turnaround. The export surplus, which as recently as 2018 stood at around €26 billion, is set to plummet to €10 billion by 2022. If the trend in imports of batteries for electric vehicles continues at the current rate, Europe could become a net importer of automotive components as early as 2024 (!).
This dramatic shift is mainly due to the significant increase in traction battery imports. The analysis shows that if we exclude batteries from total imports, the deficit would be reduced to eleven per cent. Batteries therefore have a critical impact on the overall balance of this segment.
According to the article, German and Japanese suppliers of automotive parts experienced the largest declines in the world market. The market share of German suppliers fell by 2.3 percentage points to 20.7 percent, while Japanese suppliers experienced a drop of up to six points to 21.8 percent. On the other hand, suppliers in other European countries improved their position slightly.
While European suppliers are facing a decline, Chinese competitors are improving their positions significantly. Their share of the world market almost doubled in the period under review and now stands at 9.3 percent.
At the same time, European suppliers are facing a decline in foreign direct investment in the automotive sector. This decline can be attributed to the investment boom in the US, triggered by the Inflation Reduction Act. This development underlines the need for European suppliers to adapt and innovate in order to maintain their position on the world market.
The author of the analysis calls on European suppliers to respond to these changes with strategic investment and innovation, particularly in the development and production of batteries for electric vehicles. This is key to maintaining the competitiveness and sustainability of the European automotive industry on a global scale.