Europe's Automotive Suppliers Association (CLEPA) and ACEA have jointly adopted a 'Code of Business Conduct in view of Covid-19' to support a smooth restart of the automotive industry.

A CLEPA statement noted the automotive eco-system resembles "intricate clockwork" and today's standstill in operations risks causing damage to an otherwise thriving and competitive industry.

A successful exit from the corona crisis will require timely sharing of critical and appropriate information, maintains CLEPA, making sure all players in the value chain can plan and act as effectively as possible. The Code of Conduct therefore contains chapters on health and safety in the workplace, timely communication, contractual requirements and coordination of the restart.

"While the safety and well-being of our communities remains first priority, a well-coordinated and timely restart of the sector is of utmost importance to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis for society," said CLEPA secretary general, Sigrid de Vries.

"The joint automotive industry code of conduct will make a real difference in this process."

For his part, ACEA director general, Eric-Mark Huitema added: "We are committed to emerge from the crisis even stronger and all partners in the value chain have a shared responsibility in managing the industry re-launch in a sustainable way.

"The code of business conduct gives manufacturers and suppliers essential guidance on the approach needed to overcome the Covid-19 crisis."

Some 13.8m Europeans work directly and indirectly in the auto industry. As a consequence of the crisis, more than 1.1m automobile manufacturer employees are on temporary leave, with a multitude affected in the supply chain as well as dealerships.

Loss of revenue is estimated to run into double digit percentages and uncertainty remains high as to how quickly the sector can recover. Industry, in coordination with public authorities, is seeking to gradually restart manufacturing in the next few weeks.