The Italian automotive industry still has great potential for innovation but a structured national policy is needed to support the transition. This is what emerges from the study prepared by theAutomotive Observatory, presented today in Rome. Federmeccanica with Fim-Cisl, Fiom-Cgil and Uilm-Uil have expressed for the first time - through the document "Automotive Industry: an Italian heritage in the face of transitions" - a common positioning on the conditions and prospects of the sector, the result of carried out by the Automotive Observatory which the social partners of the metalworking and mechatronics industries have set up, in implementation of the National Collective Labor Agreement (CCNL) 2021. It will therefore be possible to compare the dynamics of the automotive systems of those countries and get useful ideas for defining the more effective actions to put in place to better manage the complex phase of technological and ecological transition.
The presentation - in the Sala Parlamentino of the Cnel - saw a first part dedicated to the presentation of the study thanks to the contribution of the experts of the Scientific Committee of the Automotive Observatory who oversaw the survey. In the round table with Federico Visentin, president of Federmeccanica, Conrad La Forgia, Federmeccanica vice president with responsibility for technological and ecological transition, Robert BenagliaFim-Cisl general secretary, Michael DePalma, general secretary Fiom-Cgil, Rocco Palombella, secretary general Uilm-Ui, the issues that emerged from the study carried out by the Scientific Committee were developed. The conclusions were entrusted to the Minister of Enterprise and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso. The study developed along four essential guidelines: the consistency and dynamics of the sector in each country; demand policies, including market incentives and infrastructure policies; the policies to support the transformations of the production chain; the governance structures of the automotive system in the country.
In recent years, the Italian government has launched initiatives to support the market and the production chain, but without a coordination policy. A large share of market incentives, those aimed at pure and plug-in electric vehicles, remain unused, tenders for innovation and development in the automotive sector are still open, infrastructure for recharging is advancing rapidly in percentage terms, but remains slow in absolute value, at the end of 2022, with 36.000 points on the national territory, of which less than 500 on the motorway network. Although the impact of the electrification process promoted by the European institutions is potentially greater on Italy due to the focus on the endothermic engine, where the country has always represented excellence, the Italian automotive industry still has great potential for innovation, but the small size and fragmented businesses will not be able to implement the large and coordinated investments necessary for the transition without a structured national support policy. Today "is another important day after just over a year ago Federmeccanica, Fim, Fiom and Uilm presented a common positioning for the relaunch of the automotive sector for the first time together", declared the president of Federmeccanica, Federico Visentin. “Too much time has passed and too little has been done in our country, while others have taken action as shown by the study we did together with the union. Real industrial policies - he highlighted - have yet to be put in place in Italy, and even through moments of confrontation like today's, through dialogue with the social partners, it is possible to define effective measures. We need to go back to talking about development, focusing on the growth of our businesses to have those national tugboats that are missing and we need to attract foreign investments to feed the sector's supply chains. We need certainties in the regulatory framework and useful tools to deal with a difficult transition. Everyone must play his part, we are doing it with the union ”.
The study “highlights the absence of public policies which has generated a gap with the other EU countries. Therefore it is urgent to implement industrial policies and an extraordinary plan for the automotive sector in Italy, in order to be able to exploit the potential of innovation in a phase of major transformations in the sector with adequate resources compared to other countries", said Michele De Palma, Fiom general secretary -Cgil. "An extraordinary plan that provides investments and tools for industrial transformation and innovation, revitalization of research and development, renewal of public fleets, social safety nets and training for the protection, growth and regeneration of employment", underlined De Palma, who added: “Technological innovation, digitization and circular economy can make the transition an opportunity for the relaunch of production, the growth of good employment and the role of innovator that our country has always played. The automotive sector is a fundamental industrial sector for the economy of our country. The government must accompany the transition so that it is environmentally and socially sustainable and put all European countries in the same conditions". Today "we urge the government and Minister Urso to focus with us on a strategy which, instead of postponing European decisions, seeks to support a national industry which, as the study presented today demonstrates, is especially strong in the components supply chain" , said the general secretary of the Fim Cisl, Roberto Benaglia. To date, according to Benaglia, “despite the many announcements, the automotive table is not producing the necessary policies and tools to stimulate demand, as well as the infrastructure necessary for electric mobility and above all to support businesses and jobs. It is therefore urgent that the government, especially towards the strongest parties - Federmeccanica Anfia, Fim, Fiom, Uilm - pays greater attention starting today, and agrees with us on the choices, investments and support that must be strategic. We think that the government, rather than firming European decisions, should ask Europe for much stronger financial and industrial support measures”.
“Our government abstained on the vote with respect to the 2035 date to stop the marketing of endothermic vehicles. Postponing the discussion without taking decisions in this complex moment, with the risk of deindustrialization of a key sector of the Italian economy, is counterproductive”, underlined the general secretary of the Italian Union of metalworkers (UILM), Rocco Palombella. “Our task is to force politics to accompany the ecological transition by implementing every possible action. In our opinion, the reduction of working hours for the same wages – concluded Palombella – is one of the useful tools for managing the industrial crises that have already begun, safeguarding jobs; then we need infrastructure investments and all the defensive actions necessary to relaunch this sector; we need greater involvement of the state in the supply chain, sharing and listening to trade union organizations as happens in Germany, as well as articulated interventions to support the ecological transition as happens in Spain, France and Germany”. According to the Minister of Enterprise and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, the problem for the automotive sector "is not which fuel but which engine". Electricity "will certainly be the prevailing route in Europe but it was important that it was not the exclusive route", added Urso. The ecological transition "is not a gala dinner with synthetic food but it is an industrial revolution that starts from the electric battery", warned the minister, underlining the need to "create an industrial policy that allows the automotive sector to survive".
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