DECARBONIZATION ROADMAP

Spain 2019 | INDUSTRY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to José Vicente de los Mozos, President of the Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Automóviles y Camiones (ANFAC), on electric cars, production decreases, and expectations for the year ahead.

The automobile sector is in a transition process due to the increase in demand for electric cars. What strategy is ANFAC following to ensure that this transition is as smooth as possible?

The automotive industry is committed to the decarbonization objectives of the EU, which is why we are continuously working to ensure that the transition to zero emission vehicles is as orderly and efficient as possible. It is essential that the consumer understands that the purchase of a new vehicle is a safe bet for the future. We need to establish a framework that gives them confidence in their purchase. We need these messages of confidence to come through a government plan to encourage the renewal of the car fleet. We also need the standardization of transportation policies throughout the country. It is also a priority to carry out industrial reforms that promote the competitiveness of factories in Spain.

The change of regulation at the national and European level is affecting the sector. This month ANFAC has asked the government to reduce VAT on electric cars. What is ANFAC's relationship with the government, and what other measures should be taken to improve the efficiency of the sector in the medium-long term?

ANFAC is committed to the development of the automotive industry in Spain. We have worked and will continue to work alongside the government to achieve an orderly transition to the transportation modes of the future. We have an easy relationship with all the ministries. The Ministry of Industry and its minister, Reyes Maroto, have been a high-level partner with whom we hope to progress further. As I have already mentioned, stability in the administration is fundamental for investment security. The help of the administration is essential in terms of incorporating new technologies and supporting R&D in production processes. We need to focus on both Spanish factories that are strong and segments where investment should increase. Any innovation that can be developed in the automobile sector can be applied to other sectors and small businesses. Furthermore, it is necessary for concrete measures to be carried out by the administration. Those measures include subsidies and reduced taxes for alternative vehicles, as well as a unified tax scheme for all autonomous communities that take into account environmental criteria and decarbonization goals. These reforms will promote the renewal of the vehicle fleet. It is also important to design a national strategy for the implementation and development of recharging infrastructure. These infrastructures can be slow, for public parking, or fast, for example, on intercity roads.

One of the main challenges today is the decrease in production. Spanish factories have registered a 5.5% drop in production between January and April 2019. What are the factors that contribute to this decrease?

There is uncertainty, not only in Spain but throughout Europe, regarding the future of the automotive industry. It is undergoing change because of the international trade environment, where protectionism is on the rise. Protectionism is happening alongside particular economic crises, as happened in Turkey last year. Spain is seeing a cut in its production, of course, but Spain is not alone. Markets in Europe are reducing their production and their orders in recent months, which is the cause for a reduction in orders sent to Spanish factories.

What are the main objectives and priorities of ANFAC for 2020?

It is necessary to define a common roadmap for decarbonization. We need a strategy with real solutions, including plans to help alternative vehicles, taxation with environmental criteria, and reduced taxes for alternative vehicles. We must follow the examples of other EU countries that are passing legislation across their entire territory, adopting important accompanying measures for the development of their automotive sectors.