Association, Inc.

Issue No. 5, 2006

European, Japanese and U.S. heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers meet in Hanover

The fourth Global Commercial Vehicle Industry meeting took place in Hanover on 20 September 2006, bringing together the chief executive officers of the world’s leading manufacturers of heavy-duty vehicles and engines from Europe, Japan and the United States to discuss current and future issues facing the industry.

According to Paolo Monferino, CEO of IVECO SpA and chairman of the meeting, "The commercial vehicle and engines industry has achieved significant results in improving the environmental performance of their products.  Now we need to emphasise the global availability of high-quality fuels as a significant condition for further progress."

The Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting indeed focussed on fuel quality and global technical regulations, as well as on intellectual property concerns and specific challenges facing truck transport in future.

With respect to fuel quality, participants in the meeting stressed that the link between market fuel quality and the introduction of new vehicle emissions technologies is becoming critical as emissions requirements become more stringent.

However, it was acknowledged that in developing countries and transition economies, refining economics and logistics, not engine technology, are generally seen to drive fuel specification changes.  This explains the need for worldwide fuel regulations (to be created, it is hoped, within the UN/ECE regulatory scope) that would bolster ongoing efforts to harmonise vehicle emissions regulations at the global level.

Participants underlined the importance of internationally harmonised technical regulations and test procedures as a means to promote the rapid introduction and deployment of cost-effective new technologies for not only emissions reduction, but also improved fuel efficiency and safer vehicles.

Consequently, it was agreed that participants would encourage their respective governments to adopt fully harmonised global technical regulations on emissions certification testing, on-board diagnostics and off-cycle emissions as soon as possible.

Respect for intellectual property was also deemed to represent a major concern for commercial vehicle manufacturers, who agreed to push governments to address counterfeit automotive products as a priority issue and raise consumer awareness of the potential serious impact on health and safety of those products.

In the same regard, commercial vehicle manufacturers also agreed to join the Working Group on Intellectual Property established under the umbrella of the Global Automotive Industry Meeting in February 2006, which will examine specific measures that can be implemented globally to combat counterfeits.

It was further recognized that the main challenges ahead for truck producers and operators in the industrialized regions of the world will be the need to continuously improve safety and environmental performance—thereby ensuring the availability of energy sources—and the need to constantly upgrade the efficiency and productivity of truck operations.  Participants therefore agreed to establish working groups to study harmonisation methods for assessing CO2 emissions, new incentives for safety technologies, and the practical use of alternative fuels.

Finally, an invitation was extended by Nissan Diesel CEO Iwao Nakamura, on behalf of JAMA, to host the fifth Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting in Japan on 25 October 2007.