The European automotive and mobility service industry: transformation and revolution – IBA Annual Conference Paris, 2 November 2023

Friday 12 January 2024

Anna Dabrowska 

WOLF THEISS, Poland; Senior Vice Chair, European Regional Forum


Session Chairs

Massimo Calderan  Altenburger Ltd legal + tax, Küsnacht-Zurich; Co-Chair, European Regional Forum

Anna Dabrowska  WOLF THEISS, Warsaw; Senior Vice Chair, European Regional Forum

Panagiotis Drakopoulos  Drakopoulos, Athens; Senior Vice Chair, European Regional Forum

Caterina Iodice  JMW Solicitors, London


Wilberg Garcia Heres  DeForest, Puebla

Sebastian Keding  McDermott Will & Emery, Düsseldorf

Bartosz Marcinkowski  Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka, Warsaw

Sungtae Park  Bae, Kim & Lee LLC, Seoul

Ainara Rentería Tazo  Gomez-Acebo & Pombo, Madrid

Karla Rundtova  Kinstellar, Prague

Sneh Shah  Khaitan & Co, Mumbai

On the afternoon of Thursday 2 November 2023, at the IBA Annual Conference in Paris, the European Regional Forum lead the organisation of the automotive session titled ‘The European automotive and mobility service industry: transformation and revolution’. Contrary to its title the panellists came from different areas of the world, including Europe, India, Mexico and South Korea.

The description of the session included an eye-catching note that it was to be ‘a panel with a twist’, that would include panellists speaking about ‘new regulations and related concerns of the automotive and mobility services sector’.

So, what was this all about?

The difficult time slot assigned to the session, on the afternoon of the fourth day of the conference, made it necessary for the organisers to come up with a format that would be engaging for the audience. The moderators, Caterina Iodice and Panagiotis Drakopoulos, invited nine speakers to each share a piece of information from the automotive and mobility services sector in their country. But this was not ordinary presentation of facts. In the second part of the session, after the speakers had finished their presentations, each of them asked the audience a question related to the information they had offered. Members of the audience, who had been provided with a green card for ‘yes’ and a red card for ‘no’, were asked to determine whether the question asked was true or false.

The question posed by Karla Rundtova focused on issues concerning data privacy. Ms Rundtova described a research paper on the topic of data privacy completed recently by the Mozilla Foundation. The research included 25 major car brands. Each of the companies disclosed that they have numerous policies regarding data privacy (Toyota as many as 12) and most likely all of them have been reviewed by both, internal and external lawyers. Ms Rundtova’s question was philosophical as she wanted the audience to determine whether car drivers’ data represents a data privacy nightmare? Especially considering that it is assessed that by 2030 95 per cent of new vehicles sold globally will be connected. This answer did not pose a problem for the players/attendees, who are well aware that most of the car companies collect more personal data than necessary, the personal data collected is used for reasons unrelated to the operation of the vehicle they drive, most of the car companies sell or share the data and most of the car companies provide to the drivers only very limited control over their data.

Sungtae Park spoke of the current developments concerning autonomous vehicles in his countries, with the top ten vendors being Mobileye (Intel), Waymo (Google), Baidu Apollo Go, Cruise (GM), Motional (Hyundai+Aptiv), Nvidia, Aurora, WeRide, Zoox (Amazon) and Gatik. The question from Mr Park was whether when South Korea introduced the world’s first safety standards for Level 3 autonomous vehicles in January 2020. Korean automakers requested excluding a Level 3 autonomous lane-changing function in the safety standards on Level 3 autonomous vehicles.

The speaker from Poland, Dr Bartosz Marcinkowski, asked whether it is true or false that car manufacturers are ‘forced’ by the invisible hand of the market to collect vehicles users’ personal data to offer state-of-the-art services.

Mr Wilberg García Heres, discussed the future of electric vehicles (EVs) and their implications on the Mexican market. Mr García Heres started with a global overview reminding the audience that electric car markets have grown considerably in the last few years, with a growth from around four per cent of total car sales in 2020 to 14 per cent in 2022. This figure accounts for both EVs and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). In 2022, 83 million vehicles were produced overall with 10 million of the total production being EVs. Manufacturing is currently lead by the Chinese market (over two million EVs manufactured in 2022). The leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have made serious commitments with respect to their EVs – 100 per cent of the vehicles offered in Europe by Ford will be emission free, either hybrids or fully electric by 2030, while Toyota plans to offer a full lineup of EVs in 2030, offering about 30 electric models. As regards Mexico, in 2022, around 30,000 (2.74 per cent) of all sold vehicles were electric, with HEVs leading the market, accounting for 25,150 of total sales, with JAC holding 49.9 per cent of the market. A newly announced Tesla Gigafactory in Nuevo Leon highlighted the need for legislation and incentives that boost the adoption of EVs, however no major breakthrough was made.

Mr García Heres went on to talk about proposed legislation in this matter. With 30 per cent market share of all EVs sold in Mexico from 2016 to 2020, Mexico City is the leading example for electrification in the country. Newly discussed legislation aims to prohibit the sale of all Gasoline fuelled vehicles by 2040, with a total road ban of all gasoline fuelled vehicles by 2050 in Mexico City. Proposed creation of the National Electric Recharging System, aimed at providing infrastructure and electric interconnection throughout the country (with no proposed plan for the achievement of said goal). But what are the challenges for adopting this strategy? Low introduction of new EVs, an above average lifespan of vehicles in circulation, with an estimated lifespan of 16.1 years (62nd highest out of 75 countries rated), lack of sufficient charging stations throughout the country, with about 1,340 public charging stations (the biggest in Latin America) and also unclear legislation for the extraction and exploitation of national lithium.

Finally, the question to the audience was whether Mexican society and the automotive industry are fully prepared to be gasoline-free by 2050. It seems that this is not the case.

Mrs Sneh Shah, spoke about India’s policies on faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles (fame ii), production linked incentives, other incentives including tax rebates for loans taken to acquire battery electric vehicles (BEVs), road tax exemptions for BEVs and certain state specific incentives for BEVs. Mrs Shah finally asked the audience whether they believe that with the current incentives in India focused on BEVs, BEVs are the immediate solution to decarbonise India’s automotive and transportation sector.

An introduction to the German mobility sector was provided by Dr Sebastian Kedig who spoke about steps taken by the relevant authorities to support the sale of EVs in the German market, including subsidies, tax benefits and even traffic design. It seems that these actions are having the right impact as the sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids has gone up significantly although the majority of cars now still run on petrol and diesel.

There was then a question on whether the current policies are sufficient to reach the set goals for smart sustainable mobility was also posed by Ainara Renteria.

The quality of the speeches was very high, and the participants enjoyed being part of the game. Those of the participants who got the most questions right received a surprise prize at the end of the session. It is probably easy to guess that the prizes at the automotive session were toy cars and that those who received them enjoyed them very much.

A group of people sitting at a podium

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