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03/07/2015
AUTOMOTIVE: A FRESH RESTART

From booming rentals to Apple making its entrance in the sector. Meanwhile Europe reinforces strategic investments and the TEN-T networks

Paolo Castiglia

Thinking that the automotive market’s recession is finally over may be risky indeed. Yet, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. The current economic situation provides food for thought, starting with vehicle rentals, traditionally linked to the business world, fast becoming the driving force of the automotive market along with a consistently growing car-sharing offer, especially in large cities. And what should we say about the world’s leading brand, Apple, and its growing appetite for the automotive market. A further positive signal comes from the go-ahead of the European  Commission to establish a credit line for strategic projects, as well as the Commission’s recent publishing of nine studies on the current state of affairs and development needs for the nine TEN-T corridors.   

In other words, a wide range of options to encourage the growth of the sector with rentals in pole position: “ During 2014 and particularly in the first few months of the current year (+5,3% overall turnover and +22% in new vehicle registrations) the growth of the rental sector has held up the automobile market supporting both business and touristic mobility”, as explained by Aniasa, the National Vehicle Rental and Automotive Services Association of Confindustria (General Confederation of Italian Industry).


“These figures, along with the consolidation of the car sharing offer (487thousand members besides over 5 million rentals) confirm the evolution of the Italian market in terms of mobility, despite the sluggish bureaucracy and tax policies out of step with European standards”. Rentals have recorded a huge upswing: 18,000 new registrations are supporting the automobile market with a 25% incidence on the total turnover in April, which means that one out of four new registrations is a rental.

 

The automobile market represents a great turning point for Apple too. A confirmation to the many rumors came from the CEO of the Fiat Chrysler group Sergio Marchionne himself, who recently met the top management of Apple, Google and Tesla. Lips are sealed, of course, on the reasons behind these meetings, though Marchionne did reveal that “Apple is considering a direct involvement in the automotive market”. A short sentence making great waves, confirming rumors about Apple’s intentions of launching a fully electric vehicle: for quite some time now, Apple has formed a working group, the Titan Project, fully devoted to developing an electric vehicle, which is not only the dream of the company’s current leader Cook, Steve Jobs had a fixation for it too, and is now about to become a reality.

 

And now, also the European Commission makes its move, with a legislative proposal on European Funds for strategic investments (Feis) for a total of 315 billion Euro to finance over the next three years energy networks, telecommunication and transport. According to the Commission’s proposal, the Fund will be initially financed by the Commission itself and by the European Investment Bank, while member states will be able to participate at a later stage. 

 

In the end, the procedures relating to the TEN-T corridors are going ahead, and the Commission has published nine studies on the current state of affairs and future development of the project, in order to identify the necessary actions to be performed by 2030 when the Trans-European network will be fully operational. The nine European corridor coordinators are about to issue a working plan for each corridor to be approved by the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

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