PA Consulting’s Michael Schweikl, an automotive expert, is quoted in an article exploring the impact the coronavirus will have on car manufacturers and the transition to electric vehicles.
Commenting on how automotive manufacturers can respond to the crisis while attempting to meet new CO2 emission requirements set by the EU, Michael says: “Car manufacturers must change their product portfolio if they are to meet the emission requirements. Then they also need to spend more on research and development and it is very difficult to do when the employees are at home. Not least as manufacturers now also have to cut their costs.”
The article references PA research that shows the varied picture in how prepared European car manufacturers are to meet the new emission targets. For example, Fiat-Chrysler and Mazda have a long way to go, while Toyota and PSA (Peugeot, Citroen and others) are better off. In total, car manufacturers are still so far from the target that, according to PA’s study, they risk a cumulative fine of SEK 150 billion in 2021. However, Michael says that this fine may be lower, simply because manufacturers will now sell fewer cars.
He adds: “The big question is what the demand for new cars looks like when the coronavirus crisis is over. Do consumers want small cars or big cars, and do they want electric cars or do they go back to petrol cars? This will inform how manufacturers meet the CO2 targets.”
In response to claims that the coronavirus may lead to car manufacturers seeking to alter the targets, Michael concludes by stating that compromise will be key. He says: “I think the EU is trying to find a compromise. You might postpone the goals somewhat and ease the requirements in 2020 to support the industry and avoid more unemployment.”