Bringing the European Union back in the automobile sector after the Covid crisis

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Bordeaux (2024)


This paper will research the most recent transformations of the European Union’s policies in the automotive sector from the Great Recession until the COVID crisis. The first section introduces briefly the changes in the structural data of the automobile industry in the European Union since 2000. This initial overview would serve to single out the key trends in the EU automobile industry as a whole in the last two decades. The second section will explain why the European Union had historically abandoned in the 21st century its earlier attempts for a strategic automobile policy in favor of a regulatory approach which had encouraged competition for FDI between European territories and a race to the bottom in industrial and social terms. The third section will analyze how the great recession of 2008-2009 encouraged the consolidation of successive policy roadmap (CARS21, CARS 2020 and then GEAR 2030), all based on promoting European standards at the global level pushing the transition of the automobile industry towards sustainability. The last section will focus on the set of public policy measures developed at the EU level since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis that has marked a renewed interest in developing a strategic industrial policy for this sector in order to restructure the industry to confront three major challenges: greening, digitalization and the Chinese automobile industry. The conclusion will be devoted to explain the ideological, political and structural reasons for the incompleteness of industrial policy at the EU level in the automotive sector.

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

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