Brussels, 22 March – The automotive supply industry is investing in new solutions towards climate-neutral mobility, but suppliers are concerned that investment will not be matched by an equal public effort to ensure that the infrastructure is fully in place at the right time.
Nearly all automotive suppliers (98%) are apprehensive about ongoing efforts and investments in climate-neutral mobility being undermined by insufficient charging and refuelling infrastructure. This data comes from the 13th edition of the CLEPA Pulse Check, a bi-annual survey of auto suppliers carried out by McKinsey in February 2022.
According to McKinsey research, the rapid uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) will require a public infrastructure of at least 3.4 million charging points by 2030. Based on this target, the current rollout of the recharging network needs to accelerate four times faster among EU countries to meet the needs of future vehicles.
CLEPA Secretary General, Benjamin Krieger, commented, “Ensuring a sufficient number of public charging points for EVs and refuelling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles is an essential enabling condition to turn current industry efforts into a successful transition for Europe and our climate. We need to see the ambition matched at the member state level.”
Compared to last September, when industry sentiment hit an all-time low due to rising energy and material costs, there has been a significant improvement in the overall outlook of suppliers. In February, 35% of suppliers expressed a positive outlook, while another 35% indicated a negative outlook. This marks a stark contrast to September, when a staggering 70% of suppliers reported a negative outlook.
Despite 64% of suppliers expecting revenue growth over the year 2023, profit expectations remain bleak. Cost pressures and suppressed volumes due to the on-going semiconductor shortage continue to weigh on the profitability of the sector. A significant number of suppliers are facing intense margin pressure, with 67% of the respondents indicating that their operational profitability level is below 5%. In fact, roughly one in four suppliers are even operating at a loss.
Long-term investment capabilities of the sector are under increasing pressure and 37% of suppliers are reducing investment, with companies doing the utmost to maintain R&D budgets. While the automotive supply industry is making progress towards climate-neutral mobility, it requires public support and investment to ensure the necessary enabling conditions are in place. Without this, the industry’s efforts may be undermined, and the green mobility transformation may be compromised.