The European automotive industry: A strategic sector in search of a new industrial policy

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Detroit (2022)


automotive industry; car makers; European Union; Industrial Policy; History


This paper aims to present the historical evolution of the European Union’s policies related to the automotive sector. The first section introduces the global situation, presenting the main data, trends and actors shaping this strategic sector of the European economy. The second section will introduce the genesis of automobile policies developed by European institutions in order to originally confront the American and Japanese challenges. The third section analyses how this industrial policy was progressively abandoned in favor of a competition policy that made enlargement to Central and Eastern European countries through FDI the key strategy to maintaining competitiveness in the face of FDI from Japanese firms and new inroads made by South Korean manufacturers. The last section deals with the latest policy roadmap, GEAR 2030, whose key element has been the promotion of European standards at the global level and the transition of the automobile industry towards sustainability. The paper ends with some reflections about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, which has bolstered calls from social actors for a fair and green industrial policy in a sector that in a process of structural transformation under the pressure of the rising Chinese automobile industry.

  GIS Gerpisa /
  4 Avenue des Sciences, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette

Copyright© Gerpisa
Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Juan Sebastian Carbonell, Lorenza MonacoGéry Deffontaines

Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system