Stopping petrol and diesel: the prospects for Italy

After European environment ministers approved a plan to ban the sale of thermal cars from 2035, several prominent advocates in the Italian automotive scene discussed the future of the national supply chain at the conference “Challenges and Opportunities for the Automotive Supply Chain”, organized by Intesa Sanpaolo. Deputy Minister of Economic Development Gilberto Piccito Fratin: We must be prepared

Emiliano Ragoni


The occasion was significant: the recent approval of the European Union’s environment ministers to bid farewell to heat engines in Europe from 2035. How will Italy and many small and medium-sized companies in the automotive sector react to this prospect? Will consumers be ready? Many prominent advocates in the sector have tried to answer these and other questions, who gathered on June 30 in Milan at the Cariblo Foundation for the conference “Challenges and Opportunities for the Automotive Supply Chain”, organized by Intesa Sanpaolo.

Before and after covid

For the automotive sector, it is possible to talk about the world before and after the pandemic. 2019 closed with production levels slightly lower compared to the previous year. Before the outbreak of the epidemic crisis, the sector had entered a phase of profound transformation driven by some macro trends, such as, for example, the growth of electricity. Indeed, in 2019, there was a significant increase in alternative fuel cars (+ 43% in the EU), versus a sharp decrease in diesel engines. In this period, the automotive supply chain continued to be affected by the phenomenon of decentralization, which aims to contain and accelerate costs with the gradual pattern of production platforms. This search for efficiency is evidenced, for example, by the merger of two major European producers, FCA and PSA, which announced the birth of Stellantis in 2019. The spread of Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the automotive sector. During the first months of Close Production basically stopped, demand collapsed and the recovery in the second half of 2020 was partial.

Chips shortage, another blow

With the launch of large-scale vaccination programs in all major Western economies, there has been a gradual recovery in demand and production: globally, between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2022, production has returned to a rise of 3%, in line with the sales sector (+4%) . However, this recovery has been severely hampered by some new phenomena such as shortages of chips and semiconductors, as well as rigidity on the logistical front, with difficulties in the procurement of basic materials for production and delays in the delivery of finished products. . In support of the recovery, a positive signal came from Italy’s Pnrr, which has allocated €10.6 billion to develop more sustainable domestic transport, in line with decarbonization goals, of which nearly €1.7 billion is for renewables, batteries and charging stations. and 0.5 for hydrogen and 0.3 for electric buses.

Italian and European views

According to the company’s analysis AlixPartnersGiven by CEO Dario Dawes, in 2022, the global auto market will close at 79 million vehicles, also due to the ongoing shortage of chips and semiconductors. For 2023, the recovery is estimated with a share that could reach 87 million, while it will rise to 95 in 2024. The trend will be very similar in Europe; 2022 is expected to close at 15.9 million cars, which is supposed to grow to 17.5 million in 2023 and 19.2 million in 2024. Italy, one of Europe’s five most important car markets, could close 2021 at 1.5 million, to grow 1.7 In 2023 and 1.9 in 2024. In this context of a significant market recovery, electric and hybrid cars will dominate, with massive growth in their share.

Italian Challenge

Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Gilberto Piccito Fratin, who participated in the event by giving a speech connected to the live broadcast, confirmed the moves taken by the government to help the Italian automotive sector, which in our country is worth 20% of GDP. In addition to the incentive drive to buy low-pollution cars, NRR actually represented an opportunity. But this may not be enough because Italian small and medium-sized companies, which are so important to the automotive supply chain, need the resources to reconvert. However, Italy can take advantage of the opportunity of this transformation to reassert all its excellent experience, which can once again become the protagonist. Because, as the Deputy Minister emphasized, this rapidly developing context will cause about 400 companies to change their jobs. “We must be prepared, punctual and in time to keep pace with this change in the profession” – added Piccito Fratin – “This is the challenge we are facing. Constructive dialogue between all companies in the sector and institutions is necessary to support a strategic and long-term relaunch program – a term focused on sustainability, technological innovation and specialization Product and Dimensional Growth.

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