Europe is in a deep slump, but many suppliers in the region are adding business because of their global footprints. The key for Europe's parts makers is technology, says Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of CLEPA, a European supplier trade association.
Gales, who was PSA Peugeot Citroen's head of brands before joining CLEPA in April 2012, spoke with Bruce Gain, France correspondent for Automotive News Europe.
Q: Are suppliers cutting jobs because of the euro-zone debt crisis?
A: For each job lost at an OEM assembly plant, you lose 2.7 jobs around that assembly plant among the supplier base. Suppliers have cut about 15,000 jobs in Europe during the past six months. It is likely that we will lose about 80,000 jobs during the next couple of years among the supplier and OEM bases.
How crucial is Europe for suppliers?
European suppliers need the cash from plant adaptation in Europe to build factories in Asia or South America and to earmark more cash for r&d. They also need the money to invest in innovation to maintain their lead in technology. For years, European suppliers have annually registered the most patents [among all global suppliers] for innovations in emissions and safety. That is key. European suppliers are innovators and must continue to be innovators. So even though suppliers are closing plants in Europe, the industry is not dying by any means. It is an industry in which European-based suppliers continue to lead on a worldwide basis.