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04/03/2013
UNITED AGAINST THE CRISIS: AN AUTOMOTIVE COUNCIL IS NEEDED

ANFIA GENERAL MEETING
In 2012, the ANFIA general meeting celebrated the association’s centenary. The request for a mechanism that would connect politics and the automotive sector for intervention on legislative measures for mobility

Paolo Castiglia

AN AUTOMOTIVE supply chain that would hold together all the structures and entities operating within the complex road transport supply chain. This was ANFIA’s proposal to the Government that was clearly expressed during the national general meeting. A Council which, like the British model and by means of a mechanism that would connect politics and the automotive sector, should become “the privileged interface for all legislative measures concerning the world of mobility, and should monitor the effective implementation of the pragmatic points on which it is founded”. Mario Monti, the Prime Minister at the time, did not refuse, on the contrary, he said that the proposal was “particularly interesting” after it had been described to him by the chairman of ANFIA, Roberto Vavassori, during his talk at the public general meeting of the association that celebrated its centenary in 2012. ANFIA’s idea is that the Council, supported by the Government, would involve the active participation of the relevant ministries for the automotive sector, together with the institutions handling company internationalization and development and the representatives of the national industrial supply chain (ANFIA and car manufacturers).
According to the association, in the mid-term the Council would create a competitive environment aimed at attracting companies from abroad and fostering the dimensional growth and internationalization of the companies in the supply chain. It would also have the role of furthering the development of technological roadmaps for vehicles with low CO2 emissions in order to promote Italy as the ideal country for developing new technologies. All this would contribute to promoting the importance of Italy’s automotive sector in the eyes of the Government and potential partners. “From the point of view of production” –  Vavassori explained in his talk – “the proposals we are putting forward are: reduce the A3 component of the cost of energy by at least 80% for firms with high energy intensity, like automotive firms; a departure from the Stability Pact to allow targeted investments in local transport –  for renewing the fleets of buses and special vehicles (such as those used for collecting refuse) – and to pay the Public Administration’s past debts to suppliers. Lastly, the national launch of a pilot project for integrated and sustainable mobility in a selected geographical area, where companies in the supply chain can offer their own resources and skills for developing an intelligent and integrated mobility model, and a simple undertaking by the Government to guarantee the fast approval of the projects and the streamlining of regulatory restrictions.
In order to extend the horizon beyond national boundaries” –  the chairman of ANFIA observed – “we must encourage the liberalization of international trading, on the understanding that the free trade agreements signed by the European Union are based on effective reciprocity; the connection between Italy and Europe on legislation, on the interception of funds allocated to R&D - in view of Horizon 2020, the new European Union program for funding research and innovation – on the development of sustainable mobility and on the influence of lobbies, must be improved. Moreover, we want to be a part of, and also make our own, the objective that will see the manufacturing industry pass from the current 15.9% of GDP to 20% by 2020, and even exceed it, thereby returning to 2000 levels, which other countries, like Germany, have been able to maintain despite the crisis.
The association also wanted to let the representatives of two companies speak. They are very different in structure, size and product sector, and they talked about their experience of the crisis: problems, transformation, investment strategies. Aurelio Nervo, managing director of SKF Industrie SpA, described how a multinational operating in the automotive sector in Italy at a highly critical moment for the entire Country System handled challenges by aiming at product innovation and differentiation and the internationalization process. Luca Margaritelli, managing director of Compagnia Italiana Rimorchi, presented the case of a mid-size company in the trailers for industrial vehicles sector, which chose the road of aggregation to overcome limitations imposed on competitiveness and development by excessive industrial fragmentation.

• The numbers: segment tax burdens represent 4.4% of GDP
Even in times of complexity and crises like the present, Italy’s automotive supply chain consists of over 1.2 million direct and indirect workers. Despite a considerable downturn over the last decade, Italy is still the second largest manufacturing country in Europe after Germany and the automotive supply chain is a fundamental part of it. The segment contributes over 65 billion euros to the State’s income from taxes, which correspond to over 15% of inland revenue and 4.4% of GDP, very much higher than the European average (3.3% in EU15). But the crisis situation that has been with us for five years now, and recently embittered by the financial instability of the Eurozone, has taken its toll on all segments of the automotive chain. At the end of 2012, the Italian car and trailer market lost a total of 45% in sales compared to 2007. For Germany, 2012 will close with the same levels as 2007, France will lose 8% and the United Kingdom 16%.

• The automobile in figures”: the ANFIA database is online
The automobile in figures” makes its web debut as an online database with a wealth of statistical information that photographs the Italian and international automotive supply chain and is accessible to everyone. Originally set up in 1950 as a yearbook of statistics about the automotive supply chain, and more recently an annual publication on CDROM, the database promoted by ANFIA contains over 200 Excel tables divided into three macro-areas: Italian Statistics, Foreign Statistics and Various. The first two macro-areas include data about production, imports-exports, markets and vehicles in circulation. The third macro-area contains miscellaneous information and analyses on various aspects of the mobility system: passenger and goods transport methods, road accidents, tax burden, fuel consumption and prices, oil prices and macroeconomic indicators. The web database is continually updated.

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