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Don’t overlook European possibilities

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 13:48
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With all the media coverage regarding the European economies, the many opportunities for automotive and heavy duty parts exporters may be overlooked.

The European Union's 27 member states are home to more than 500 million consumers, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Commercial Service. The U.S. and the EU enjoy a mature economic relationship with massive two-way trade of $560 billion and an extensive $3 trillion two-way investment relationship.

U.S.-EU trade has continued to grow, despite the world financial situation. The U.S. Commercial Service noted that U.S. exports of goods and services to the EU-27 in 2010 were an estimated $240 billion.

The “World Motor Vehicle Market Report,” published by the Overseas Automotive Council (OAC) of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), reports the region also has one of the world’s largest car populations, running a close second to the United States.

Europe is the world’s largest vehicle producer with an output of more than 17 million passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses per year or 25 percent of worldwide vehicle production, according to the ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles), the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

ACEA also notes that, similar to the U.S. car parc, the average age of cars in the EU is 8.2 years old. This is the prime age for automotive aftermarket products. According to CLEPA, the European Association of automotive suppliers, the EU aftermarket is expected to reach 230 billion euro by 2020.

For companies involved in global trade, complying with different labeling requirements can be expensive, tricky and often inefficient. As noted in this column before, the U.S. Commercial Service is an invaluable resource for U.S. companies seeking to export products. The EU market has many vehicle and product labeling requirements which the Commercial Service can assist in navigating. More details are at the agency’s Web site.

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