EURU held a Chairman’s Press Meeting on July 27, 2017.
Following is the key speech.
Mr. Peter Kronschnabl
1. Results of New Imported Car Sales in First Half of 2017
Looking back at the sales of foreign-brand four-wheelers in 2016 and the first six months of 2017, the result for the entire 2016 was up 3.4 percent from the year before to about 295,000 units and which is the third highest annual sales ever.
In 2017 also, EURU members continued to show very good performance thanks to vigorous introductions of next-generation vehicles, including plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), clean diesels (CD) and electric vehicles (EV), as well as sports utility vehicles (SUV) and other new models. As a result, year-on-year growth was posted 15 months in a row between April of 2016 and June of 2017. In particular, the share of CD models to total sales of foreign brand vehicles has increased to 21.5 percent for the first half of 2017, reflecting the increasing trend of customers’ needs for CD vehicles. Currently eleven brands are marketing CD vehicles. In the results, for the first six months of 2017, sales of foreign-brand vehicles was up 3.8 percent from a year earlier to about 151,000 units, which is the third highest figure ever for a calendar year first half. In addition, total sales including Japanese-brand imported vehicles was also up 2.0 percent from a year ago to about 174,000 units.
2. Market Outlook in Second Half of 2017
For the outlook of the market in the second half of 2017, we expect that market will further grow. EURU members will further be launching attractive new models and positively upgrade the leading-edge features of our next-generation vehicles. Also from the fall of 2017 to the beginning of 2018, a series of motor shows will be held in various parts of Japan, in addition to the local imported car fairs throughout the country. Combined with further announcements and launches of various new models by the imported brands and domestic brands, these events will likely pump up Japan’s motor vehicle market as a whole.
3. EURU’s Key Activities from second half of 2017 onward
In recent years, EURU has been carrying out its activities for contributing to the provision of sustainable mobility to everyone of society by cooperating with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and a number of other organizations concerned. In order to secure seamless import and distribution of such cars and motorcycles that are diversified and attractive, EURU, as an association of vehicle importers, is engaged in activities that consist of two pillars: one is the activities to vitalize the market by reducing burdens on users and ensuring fair market conditions; and the other is the activities to internationally harmonize regulations relating to safety and the environment.
4. (1) Activities for vitalizing the vehicle market in Japan (1st Pillar)
Concerning the taxation revision of fiscal year 2018, EURU will focus on its long years’ priority request for “reduction of the Automobile Tax” to ensure that fair taxes on registered cars and kei-cars, considering the tax burden on registered cars are still more than 2.7 times higher than that on kei-cars. EURU will also focus on its long years’ priority request for abolition of the Tonnage Tax in order to cut tax burdens on vehicle owners.
The “45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017” (TMS2017) will be held during the period from October 27 to November 5 of 2017, in which EURU will participate as a co-organizer. In order to make the show successful, EURU will cooperate with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), the organizer of Tokyo Motor Show 2017..
From EURU members, 17 four-wheeler brands and 3 two-wheeler brands will be exhibiting in Tokyo Motor Show 2017.
JAMA and EURU have aspirations for the Tokyo Motor Show 2017 to become an event that focuses on the broadly extended values and enjoyment of automobiles and motorcycles, providing even more excitement and interest for fans and press members from home and abroad. We invite you to look forward to the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show 2017.
After the Tokyo Motor Show 2017, a series of motor shows will be held in Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sapporo and the Tohoku region between late in 2017 and early in 2018. EURU hopes that these events will serve as opportunities for many people including the young and females to touch and feel attractiveness of imported automobiles and motorcycles.
4. (2) Activities for internationally harmonizing regulations (2nd Pillar)
(A) Activities related to technical safety regulations
First is the status of the International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA).
Steady progress has been made as the efforts for creation of IWVTA were partially realized and we highly appreciate hard work and contribution of MLIT and other parties involved. Going forward, we hope to see accelerated pace of international cooperation toward complete IWVTA and EURU intends to participate in and contribute to this global concerted effort to allow acceptance of those vehicles that are approved abroad in the end.
Second is the progress of harmonization of Japan-unique regulations.
Reviews are ongoing for international harmonization or abolition of those regulations that are unique to Japan. In the first half of 2017 alone, four regulation items were revised, for which EURU expresses appreciation to MLIT. For example, thanks to harmonization of the regulation on “tyre protrusion” with that of the EU, Japanese customers are now able to appreciate the original beautiful design of European cars. We hope to see more revisions of Japan-unique regulations, regardless of passenger cars, trucks and buses.
Third is greater efficiency in conducting type approval tests in Europe.
In March of 2017, the Automobile Type Approval Test Department of the National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory opened its office in Geneva. We highly appreciate the efforts of MLIT and other parties concerned. With this move, it is now possible to conduct type approval tests on the vehicles imported from Europe by a type approval engineer stationed in Europe. Going forward, we hope to see greater efficiency of procedures at OEMs and importers through flexible scheduling.
Forth is international harmonization of regulations relating to high pressure gas-fueled vehicles.
With respect to vehicles using CNG and LNG in their propulsion system, revisions to regulations related to the High Pressure Gas Safety Act and the Road Vehicles Act for adopting UN R110 were enforced as of June 30, 2017. EURU highly appreciates the efforts of METI, MLIT and other parties concerned, and hopes that the revisions will contribute to diversification of powertrains.
Hereafter, EURU plans to further request prompt streamlining of regulations for fuel-cell vehicle tanks and the like from a viewpoint of international harmonization.
(B) Activities related to the environmental regulations and systems
First, with regard to fuel efficiency, discussions on the Post-2020 Fuel Efficiency Standards are set to commence. We will request the ministries concerned to set the Post-2020 Fuel Efficiency Standards as an objective and reasonable benchmark based on scientific knowledge, and formulate and establish the Post-2020 FE Standards as criteria that are fair to both foreign-brand imports and domestic vehicles. EURU will more concretely make our comments in due course.
Second is the emission regulations of the diesel passenger cars, for which the so-called Real Driving Emissions (RDE) are slated to be introduced in 2022.
EURU understands the aim of adopting RDE, which, by measuring gases while running on roads, will allow measurement and evaluation of the impacts on the environment in a more realistic manner. EURU finds it reasonable, from a viewpoint of international harmonization, to seek as much consistency as possible between Japan’s RDE requirements and those of Europe where RDE will be introduced ahead of other countries in September 2017.
(C) Activities related to “automated and connected driving”
Aiming at providing everyone with safe and sustainable mobility, EURU has been, and will be, working to realize market launch of “automated and connected driving”. Let me share with you the following basic position of EURU. It is essential to formulate or revise related rules while achieving international harmonization. Toward the realization of more advanced vehicle automated driving technologies, EURU is determined to further cooperate with the Japanese government and other organizations involved to promote international harmonization when establishing or revising various regulations related to “automated and connected driving”.
As part of such efforts, EURU has been working in cooperation with METI, MLIT, the Strategic Innovation Program – Automated Driving for Universal Service (SIP-adus) and other organizations concerned.
In particular, 2016, EURU established a cooperative relationship with SIP-adus and SIP-adus agreed with EURU that “International Cooperation and Harmonization” should be one of the objectives of the Large-scale Field Operational Tests (FOT) in Japan.
EURU’s views to promote vehicles equipped with wide-ranging advanced safety technologies.
In March 2017, METI, MLIT, the National Police Agency and the Cabinet Office published the interim-report on their basic policies to reduce the traffic accidents by senior drivers, promoting what they call “Safety Support Car-S” equipped with Autonomous Emergency Braking System (AEBS) and a system to control acceleration at the time of mistake of pedaling.
The basic position of EURU is that it is essential to support safe driving by all generations including seniors and significantly reduce traffic accidents, by generally promoting vehicles equipped with broad-ranging advanced safety technologies, in addition to the promotion of the “Safety Support Car-S”.
While MLIT has set up Working Group in order to introduce a system to evaluate the performance of AEBS, EURU plans to actively participate in realizing a credible system to evaluate performance in a manner that is fair to both imported vehicles and domestic vehicles, and establish a system that can effectively convey benefits to users.
EURU expects that MLIT will further lead activities for international agreement on regulation of AEBS. In addition, EURU expects future creation of internationally harmonized definition/regulation for other advanced safety technologies.
4. (3) Motorcycle activities
As with four-wheelers, EURU’s motorcycle activities focus on two pillars, which are “activities for vitalizing the motorcycle market” and “activities for promoting international harmonization of technical and environmental regulations”.
First, as the activities for vitalizing the motorcycle market, EURU organized the Third Motorcycle Joint Test Ride in April, 2017 with 100 motorcycles of ten EURU member companies. With participation by 71 media, the event was successfully held, disseminating attractiveness of imported motorcycles that are ‘something different’ to a large number of riders including the young and females.
In conjunction with the fifth “Bike Love Forum” to be held in Maebashi, Gunma on September 17, 2017, EURU, in cooperation with JAMA and other motorcycle organizations, plans to hold a large-scale Motorcycle Exhibition, which is expected to attract some 3,000 visitors including about 700 riders from owners’ clubs.
And regarding “activities for internationally harmonizing technical and environmental regulations”, we are making good progress in harmonization of regulations on noise, which had been a long-sought goal. In the months to come, EURU plans to make further efforts for international harmonization of motorcycle specific regulations.
In closing, all EURU members, namely 27 four-wheeler members and 10 motorcycle members, are determined to further contribute to “sustainable growth of Japan and the world” by delivering to more customers those imported cars and motorcycles that are manufactured in different parts of the world and equipped with advanced technologies and full of appeals.