Leaders of World’s Automakers Address Global Issues
A commitment to strengthen efforts with all relevant stakeholders to improve global road safety; a call for global fuel regulations; and the search for common initiatives to fight against counterfeiting of cars and automotive parts: these are some of the key resolutions taken by the leaders of the world’s automakers, who met today in Geneva to discuss the industry’s global public policy priorities regarding environment, road safety and intellectual property issues.
CEOs of the major automakers of the world, together with representatives of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) participated.
This meeting, the fourth Global Automotive Industry Meeting, was held in conjunction with the Geneva Auto Show and followed previous meetings held in Paris (September 2002), Tokyo (October 2003) and Detroit (January 2005).
Chaired by Mr Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat SpA, today’s gathering of international auto executives addressed the progress made since the first global meeting, as well as other issues for future attention. Attendees agreed that automakers need to continue to promote progress in providing safe and cleaner automobiles around the globe, while at the same time joining in productive partnerships with governments, consumers and other stakeholders to advance important safety, environmental and intellectual property issues.
In today’s meeting, participating leaders discussed the following public policy topics:
Global Road Safety
Road safety remains one of the most urgent societal issues across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, 1.2 million are killed worldwide every year and 20-50 million are injured in road traffic accidents. Ninety percent of all road traffic casualties occur in developing countries. These losses, and the societal cost they induce (65 billion US$ a year) constitute an element that inhibits development and perpetuates poverty in the developing world. Today, almost the entire world-wide production of passenger cars is equipped with safety belts, regardless of whether they are required by law or not. As part of their efforts to cooperate with all public and private stakeholders to improve road safety at global level, the manufacturers concerned have agreed to install safety belts by July 2008 or when designing or redesigning the remaining vehicles1. This should help promoting greater road safety, in particular in
developing countries undergoing rapid motorization, as safety belts have proven to be one of the most effective safety devices, provided of course that they are correctly used.
The manufacturers have also agreed to undertake individually or collectively initiatives that are
supportive of an integrated approach to road safety such as the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP)2 including working with governments to facilitate the adoption and effective enforcement of safety belt usage laws.
Global Fuel Regulations
As emissions requirements become more stringent, the link between market fuel quality and the introduction of new vehicle emissions technologies becomes more critical. Many developing countries are discussing, and in some cases already implementing, ambitious emission control programmes for vehicles. Unfortunately, fuel quality issues are often not taken into account when deciding the measures of such programmes. This underscores the need to work towards global fuel regulations, in parallel with ongoing efforts to establish global automotive technical regulations. The participants agreed that the United Nation should make this issue a priority and that future fuel regulations should focus first on lower sulphur limits for both gasoline and diesel fuel. They also supported more comprehensive discussions on harmonizing other fuel properties. The Worldwide Fuel Charter should provide the basis for this work.
Respect for intellectual property not only protects the interests of the holders of the rights, but also functions to uphold the development of society and protect the interests of consumers. However, counterfeit products are rapidly increasing on a global scale, and thus, the adoption of effective countermeasures is urgently required. Government authorities, especially of developing countries, have yet to target this problem as a high-priority policy issue, while the awareness of the general public has yet to be raised.
The participants reached a consensus that; i) strengthening appeals to governments to treat the fight against counterfeit automotive products as a priority issue, and ii) achieving greater consumer awareness of the fact that the majority of low-quality counterfeit products harbour the potential of exerting serious impact on health and safety, are two effective countermeasures for further protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Moreover, an agreement was also reached that a trilateral Working Group on Intellectual Property will be retained in order to deal effectively with this issue on a global scale. The Working Group will examine specific measures for counterfeit issues that can be implemented globally by focusing on systematic action and information sharing.
1 Applies to vehicles of 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs) GVWR or less (including Special Purpose Vehicles), that are manufactured for sale any where in the world, where design and production of those vehicles is within the control of the manufacturer and where those vehicles are produced in a single stage (Does not apply to fold-down seats or occasional use seats).
2 The Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) works to find more effective and innovative ways of dealing with road safety in developing economies. The GRSP is a global organization between business, civil society and governmental organizations collaborating to improve road safety conditions around the world. Through a comprehensive approach to road safety, GRSP partners collaborate and coordinate road safety activities.
- The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 14 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, JLR, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo Group.
- Visit www.acea.auto for more information about ACEA, and follow us on www.twitter.com/ACEA_auto or www.linkedin.com/company/ACEA/.
- Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, email@example.com, +32 485 88 66 47.
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About the EU automobile industry
- 13.0 million Europeans work in the automotive sector
- 11.5% of all manufacturing jobs in the EU
- €374.6 billion in tax revenue for European governments
- €101.9 billion trade surplus for the European Union
- Over 7% of EU GDP generated by the auto industry
- €59.1 billion in R&D spending annually, 31% of EU total