The collapse of the European car market has consequences: automakers and car part manufacturers have announced up to 126,000 job cuts in Europe in the past six months. What stands out when analysing these figures?

Automakers and car part manufacturers hit heavily

Car part manufacturers have announced 72,715 voluntary redundancies. The companies hit the hardest are Continental (30,000 jobs out of a total of 232,000 employees), ZF Group (15,000) and Mahle (7,600).

Automakers (OEMs) have announced their intention to cut 53,263 jobs.  The companies to be hit the hardest are Groupe Renault (14,600 jobs), MAN (9,500) and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive (6,100).

Are most of the job cuts being made in higher wage countries?

The location was indicated for 72,328 of the 126,000 job cuts announced. Germany will be one of the countries hit the hardest: 53,306 jobs will be cut.  Other countries where job losses will be high are France (6,196 jobs), the United Kingdom (3,800) and Austria (3,000).
In Belgium, only 476 job cuts have been announced so far.
Low-wage countries with significant automotive industries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia mostly seem to have been spared.


Underlying issues? 

“We’re wondering whether this slashing of jobs has been caused solely by the coronavirus crisis or whether underlying issues have contributed”, said Ward Vleegen, Business Group Leader at Agoria.  “Two issues seem to have been sped up by the coronavirus crisis: the transition to new environmentally friendly (electric) cars and the transfer of R&D and production capacity to low-wage countries.

How can the Belgian automotive industry arm itself against these developments?

“The Belgian automotive industry is already relatively strong: our Volvo Cars and Audi car plants are targeting new drive technology and both have their own battery assembly lines.  Our car part suppliers have also focused on innovation for some time, by developing and producing world-class solutions with high added value.”  Agoria intends to support the automotive industry even more strongly in future and continue to create connections.  We strongly believe that this sector can accelerate by investing not only in innovation, but also through co-creation based on extensive knowledge sharing and interaction between our companies.”

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