BELGIUM: FKG points to UK model as Sweden struggles
Scandinavian supplier body, FKG, is urging the Swedish government to look to the British model for its domestic automotive industry as the country struggles with the overall European downturn.
Speaking to just-auto at this week's CLEPA Aftermarket Conference in Brussels, FKG managing director, Fredrik Sidahl, highlighted the relative success of the British automotive industry in attracting overseas investment and a willingness by its politicians to engage in the sector.
"Obviously, the UK made things right - look at the key indicators in the UK automotive industry - it is [heading] in the right direction," said Sidahl. "There is a positive balance of trade in the UK automotive market.
"We need to do something because...the car industry starts to pour away [in Sweden]. Saab is gone and Volvo has a great problem.
"I got a telephone call from Volvo saying they were cancelling another 5,500 vehicles. That is of course, a great danger for the suppliers. What is the reaction of the suppliers? They will probably - long term - the big ones - find customers but the smaller ones will die - it is as simple as that.
"If you lose automotive, you perhaps lose the rest of the mechanical industry that is vital for Sweden."
Sidahl highlighted areas for concern such as a slowing down in the hitherto booming China market, coupled with a strengthening of the Swedish Krona, but he returned to the central issue: "Europe, Europe, Europe."
Despite the Swedish gloom, the FKG chief nonetheless highlighted two areas where opportunities could exist in both the US and Iran, with the latter also about to enter a leadership battle following America's recent Presidential election.
"[President] Obama can really take decisions now," said Sidahl. "He doesn't have to be afraid. Think about Iran - they have a lack of 300,000 vehicles per year - a lack of 70,000 trucks.
"It could be huge but is closed because of trade blocking, sanctions."