EURU held a Chairman’s Press Meeting on July 19, 2018.
Following is the keynote speech by Chairman Kintaro Ueno.
1. Opening Remarks and Goals as New Chairman
First and foremost, on behalf of EURU, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families of the Earthquake in Osaka-Fu Hokubu on June 18 and 2018 Western Japan Downpours and Flooding, as well as our sincere sympathy for everyone of the regions hit by the disaster.
I was appointed as the twelfth chairman of EURU in May this year, and I will be acting in that position for the coming two years. In my case, I am serving as the EURU chairman for the second time after four years. Since then, the situations surrounding the automobile industries of the world, have been drastically changing.
In the end of 2016, the Paris Agreement went into effect and already global efforts to cut greenhouse gases are going on. In Europe, serious deliberations are progressing toward 2030 concerning targets for reductions of CO2 emissions from passenger cars, and in China, the government are taking initiatives in formulating new environmental and industrial policies. Reflecting such changes and new initiatives, moves toward electrification is accelerating worldwide. Also, along with the development and deployment of wide-ranging advanced safety technologies, as well as level-up of connected and automated driving technologies, the globally-harmonized regulations on vehicle safety and environment have been developed. Furthermore, as IoT progresses and digitalization accelerates, major changes are seen including rapid penetration of connected technologies.
While addressing such global changes, EURU will intensify its efforts to contribute to developing internationally harmonized business conditions for global auto industry including the international harmonization of regulations in order to allow its member companies to provide the Japanese customers with their valuable automobiles and motorcycles equipped with leading-edge technologies without delay. In addition, EURU will work on those issues to be tackled through the concerted efforts with Japanese automobile industry, – including reductions in the excessive tax burdens on users – on behalf of the imported vehicle industry, and convey the voice of customers to the government and other relevant organizations in a convincing manner.
2. Results of Imported Vehicle Sales in First Half of 2018
Looking back on the results of last year (2017), the annual sales of foreign-brand four-wheelers in Japan exceeded the 300,000 mark for the first time in 20 years since 1997, posting the second highest figure ever.
Into this year, the sales of foreign-brand imported vehicles in the first half were up by 0.5 percent from the year earlier to 151,803 units, posting the third highest figure for a calendar year first half period. Moreover, the total imported vehicle sales including the Japanese brands were up by 5.0 percent from the year earlier to 182,519 units.
Such good record is due to EURU members’ successful introductions of all-new models and limited editions equipped with innovative connected technologies – such as 24/7 emergency call, remote door lock and remote parking assist via smartphones, and concierge services, – and wide-ranging advanced safety technologies – such as Lane Change Assist, Collision Avoidance Steering, Night Vision as well as new SUVs and CUVs (Crossover Utility Vehicles) meeting various lifestyles and needs of the customers.
3. Outlook of Imported Vehicles Sales in Second Half of 2018
Next, concerning the market outlook for the second half of this year, the imported vehicle market will likely continue posting positive results. The new models that were launched in the first half will further penetrate the market and the EURU members will be vigorously introducing more of attractive new models, aiming at expanding the lineup of the new generation vehicles equipped with the latest technologies and features.
4. EURU’s Key Activity Plans
4.1 Market revitalization activities
EURU will further request auto-related tax revisions, calling for reductions in the burdens on users, which are excessive comparing with other countries cooperating with other automobile-related organizations.
EURU will make maximum efforts to achieve cuts in tax burdens on vehicle owners such as reduction of automobile tax by actively participating in the process of comprehensive deliberation, which was specified in the ruling parties’ “Tax Revision Outline of FY2017”.
4.2 Activities in environmental field
The EURU members will continue to introduce low-carbon and highly-fuel efficient vehicles including EVs and PHEVs along with the global trend of electrification and consumers’ needs. We find it is necessary for the government to further develop required infrastructures and to provide incentives for consumers in order to promote electrification.
For further improvement of fuel efficiency, a joint council of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), started its deliberation on the Post-2020 Fuel Efficiency Standards for passenger cars in March this year, aiming at setting up the Post 2020 Standard by March next year.
Since automobiles are global products, EURU is convinced that it is a must to dully consider international harmonization on, target years, etc. when setting up new fuel efficiency standards. It is also essential to have comprehensive deliberations in terms of the fuel efficiency-related technological development of the future, diversification and advancement of powertrains including electrification and consumers’ acceptance of such new technologies.
EURU will positively participate in deliberations at the joint council aiming at ensuring that the Post-2020 Fuel Efficiency Standards will be fair and reasonable for both imported and domestic vehicles.
4.3 Activities in technical field
EURU is convinced that internationally-harmonized regulations and standards are essential in this area as well. In November last year, the UNECE World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP29) adopted the UN Regulation 0 (UN R0), which prescribes the procedures for the International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA). On July 19, that is finally enforced. Also, work is already under way for the expanded application of the above to a broader scope in technologies and devices as the IWVTA Phase-II. EURU appreciates the efforts of MLIT and other parties concerned. EURU will aim at further contributing to acceleration of international harmonization toward a complete IWVTA
While many standards and regulations have been harmonized, there still remain some Japan-unique regulations. In order to achieve harmonization of such regulations, EURU will continue making proposals to avoid disadvantages to users.
Concerning international regulatory harmonization of hydrogen gas tanks for fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), EURU welcomes certain progress toward international harmonization, as a result of consultations by EURU with METI and other parties concerned, as well as the final agreement of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. EURU will further carry out our activities aiming at global and full harmonization of relevant regulations.
EURU will further make vigorous efforts, working together with MLIT and other organizations concerned, for the promotion of the Advanced Safety Vehicles (ASV), effective measures to prevent traffic accidents caused by elderly drivers, and safety measures relating to automated driving vehicles, etc.
In addition, EURU is convinced that it is necessary to develop various rules/regulations for the expansion of automated driving, while ensuring international harmonization of relevant rules/regulations. For example, the MLIT’s Study Group for Liability in Damages by Automated Driving issued a report, which mentions a need to study the use of Event Data Recorder (EDR), in March 2018, and EURU will participate in such discussions in a positive manner in order to facilitate the development of schemes that are internationally harmonized and fair to both imported and domestic vehicles.
4.4 Imported motorcycle activities
EURU’s motorcycle activities are based on two pillars, “revitalization of the motorcycle market” and the “promotion of international harmonization of safety and environmental regulations”.
Concerning the first pillar, “activities for market revitalization”, EURU held the Fourth EURU Motorcycle Test Ride in April this year. For the event, nine motorcycle members provided record-high 101 motorcycles of 13 brands for test ride and exhibition, promoting appeals of imported motorcycles that are diversified, unique and ‘something different’ among the existing and potential users including young people and females.
Also, EURU has been presenting its requests to revitalize the motorcycle market on the occasions of motorcycle-related project teams and study groups of the government and the political parties, cooperating with other motorcycle-related organizations. As a result, we have made certain achievements such as: (1) Start of the “touring plans for motorcycles” which offer discounted expressway tolls for those motorcycles equipped with ETC devices as a first step toward the final goal of lowering tolls for motorcycles; (2) reduced burdens of obtaining licenses for small- motorcycles (125cc or less) as a first step; and, (3) expansion of parking spaces for motorcycles in new buildings.
Furthermore, EURU and other motorcycle-related organizations have been holding an event called the Bike Love Forum (BLF), aiming at the revitalization of Japan’s motorcycle market, since 2013. This year, the sixth BLF will be held on August 3 in Ichinoseki-city, Iwate Prefecture, in which EURU will participate. Also, the members of the BLF Executive Committee including EURU will be supporters of the “Special Touring Plans for Supporting Reconstruction of Tohoku”, which will be held throughout August.
In regard to the second pillar, “activities for the international harmonization of motorcycle safety and environmental regulations”, EURU’s activities have led to progress in realizing international harmonization of regulations on lamps, noise, etc. EURU will further intensify its activities, aiming at realizing greater international harmonization.
In closing, EURU is determined to further contribute to sustainable growth of the automobile market and economy in Japan by supporting all 28 four-wheeler and 10 motorcycle members to deliver various, attractive imported motor vehicles to more customers in Japan, cooperating with responsible ministries and other automobile-related organizations.