The future of the European car industry: the challenge of industrial transformation

We are inviting: Journalists covering countries with an automotive industry
13 Jun - 18 Jun 2021
Online via Zoom
Import into your calendar

Apply now for one of our limited spots! As e-car sales climb from one record to the next across the globe, the shift to electric mobility is firmly under way. The transformation will create a greener transport sector, but also herald unprecedented challenges for Europe's car industry. How well are different regions in Europe prepared for the shift to low-emissions transport? Will just transition government programmes be needed and implemented? Clean Energy Wire invites journalists to join a digital research tour from June 13th to June 18th where we will unpack all the latest debates and issues on Europe's changing car industry.


VW Electric vehicle ID.3 manufactured in the company's 'Transparent Factory' in Dresden, Saxony. Photo: IMAGO / Rainer Weisflog

[Sign-ups are closed. Please contact for questions.]

Europe's mighty automobile industry is grappling with the accelerating shift to climate-friendly cars. In the face of increasingly ambitious climate targets, a phase-out of the combustion engine looks all but inevitable. The list of countries planning to ban the sale of new conventional cars within two decades is rapidly getting longer: Norway, Belgium, India, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, France, Spain and the US state of California all plan a phase-out within the next two decades.

The impact on Europe's economy could be substantive. In the EU, the automotive sector provides direct and indirect jobs to 14.6 million people, representing almost seven percent of total EU employment, according to European industry association ACEA. In Central and Eastern Europe, the dependence on the automotive industry is even larger, as Slovakia and Hungary largely serve as extended workbenches with modest wages but little R&D.

Media coverage on the upheaval in the car industry has largely focused on the embattled carmakers. But recent evidence suggest that they might manage the shift to electric mobility with fewer job losses than feared. But parts of the continent's huge supplier industry look set to be hit worse, as many smaller companies depend on the combustion engine entirely, and may find it difficult to switch to alternative products.

Join Clean Energy Wire for our digital research tour and gain insights into these issues, get quotes and ask questions to expert speakers and network with journalism colleagues. Journalists covering countries with an automotive industry are eligible to apply for this research tour.

Key questions that will be addressed:

  • Which European regions look set to be most affected? Will some regions be in a better position than others to handle the transformation ?
  • Could synthetic fuels throw a lifeline to the combustion engine industry? (Witness German car lobby group VDA's resistance to a sole focus on e-cars and their call for "technological neutrality")
  • Could new jobs in electric motors, batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen etc. smooth the transition in affected regions? Or do they appear elsewhere?
  • To what extent are policymakers and unions preparing for the upcoming shift in the labour market?
  • What are their current plans for retraining and other adaptation measures?
  • What role does the shift play in local/regional/national politics?



Sessions and Speakers

Sunday June 13 2021

6 - 7.00 pm

Welcome and get to know each other

Don't miss the unique 'CLEW Car Industry Quiz' by our network manager Milou Dirkx


Monday 14 June 2021

2 - 3.30 pm

Overview: The scope and the nature of the problem


Dr. Daniel Küpper, Managing Director and Partner at Boston Consulting Group

Dr. Wolfgang Bernhart, Senior Partner / Automotive at Roland Berger GmbH

Jon Stenning, Associate Director at Cambridge Econometrics


Tuesday 15 June 2021

2 - 3.30  pm

Reinventing themselves - or 'Lost in Transition'? Industry and Suppliers

Frank Iwer, Senior Vice President HR Germany at ZF Friedrichshafen

Andreas Klugescheid, Head Governmental Affairs and External Relations Europe, Middle East and Africa at BMW Group

Jakub Faryś, President of Polish Automotive Industry Association


Wednesday 16 June 2021

2 - 3.30 pm 

Of centres and peripheries: Regional economies and labour markets

Daniel Rabe, Team Transformation, IG Metall Baden-Württemberg

Monika Martišková, Researcher at Charles University Prague


Thursday 17 June 2021

2 - 3.30 pm

Creating the right framework for a smooth transition: Policy-makers and the tools for industrial policy

Jörg Steinbach, Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Energy of the State of Brandenburg,Germany

Philip Barnstorf, Journalist with RBB and he is also the author of a regular news programme on RadioEins reporting on the Tesla gigafactory in Brandenburg


Friday 18 June 2021

1.30 - 3 pm

Putting the pieces together: What have we learned from the stock-take?

Fanny Tausendteufel, Project Manager Industrial Policy at Agora Verkehrswende

Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport, Ministry of Transport Baden-Württemberg





Who is eligible for the research tour? And how can I apply?

The digital research tour is open for journalists covering countries with an automotive industry.

To apply, please click on the red "Sign up"-Button above that will take you to the webform. Please note that applications in any other language than English will not be accepted.

Please be aware that if you sign up to the digital research tour and will be chosen as a participant, that it is expected to attend all sessions (one per day) of the tour.

By submitting your application, you agree that your name, associated media outlet, country of residence and email address will appear on the list shared with all participants if your application is successful. Remember to confirm your sign up via the automatic email you receive from us (it could land in your spam folder).


What languages will be spoken during the tour?

All sessions will be in English.

What are the deadlines?

Application deadline for applications is 26 May 2021. We will inform you of the outcome of your application no later than 1 June 2021. Please make sure to have access to your email, and do check the spam folder.

If your application has been sucessful you will receive a confirmation email from CLEW not later than 1 June 2021. In that event please confirm your participation until 3 June 2021. Otherwise your place will be offered to another applicant.

I get an error message saying I’m over the character limit, but I don’t think I am.

The character limit is specified in the boxes. Note that the limit includes paragraph breaks. If you have removed all paragraph breaks and are otherwise 100 percent certain that you are below the limit specified, try using a different internet server. For example, if you have previously tried submitting unsuccessfully via Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer.

I have submitted an application but have not received a confirmation of receipt.

Please check your spam folder for an automatically generated email, which asks you to confirm that you indeed submitted an application.

You will then hear from CLEW regarding the outcome of your application no later than 1 June 2021. In that event please confirm your participation until 3 June 2021. Otherwise your place will be offered to another applicant.

What are the rules of citation during the sessions?

Interviews and public debate between journalists and speakers follow different rules and practices in different parts of the world. To make the context of our digital research tour clear for all involved, we would like to set out the following framework guiding the interaction with participating journalists:

Quotes and interviews

  • We work on the basis that statements made by speakers can be quoted by the journalists present in their media reports. As a rule, conversations are “on the record”.
  • If speakers do not want to be quoted, we ask them to inform the participating journalists where this is the case. Remarks may then be made "off the record" and will not be quoted.
  • Outside Germany it is not common practice for journalists to seek authorisation for quotes before using them. If a speaker does require the participating journalists to check quotes with him or her before publishing, we ask speakers to advise journalists of this.

Photos, audio or video recordings

  • We respect journalists’ fundamental right not to disclose the sources of their research. Some of the participants also come from countries where press freedom is under threat and where journalists are prosecuted. As a safeguard to participants’ rights and their well-being, we kindly ask the speakers not to take any photos and not to make any recordings.
Will the sessions be recorded?

No, we will not record the sessions.


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