Head Of Global Industry Body Says U.S. Makers Lose Their Moxie

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
head of global industry body says u s makers lose their moxie

The president of the International Association of Vehicle Manufacturers OICA says that U.S. auto makers risk being left behind. In an interview with Wardsauto, OICA-head Patrick Blain warned that European and Asian car companies are setting the pace while working together with their governments to reduce emissions and rising fuel costs.

OICA is the world’s umbrella organization of all auto manufacturer associations. OICA also represents the global auto industry at the United Nations. As OICA president, Blain is the auto industry’s ambassador to the UN.

In the interview with Wardsauto, Blain voiced his displeasure that U.S. auto makers who resist the adoption of U.N.-based international vehicle regulations, especially regarding emissions reduction.

Blain sees the July CAFE agreement as a step in the right direction, but only as the beginning of a tour along a rocky road:

“At last, they are entering into the natural discussion. Fighting like hell against technical regulations that make some sense to save the planet is a mistake. I think they have been fighting for too long, and they have been paying the price.”

Consumers are increasingly aware of emissions and fuel prices. According to Blair, American manufacturers are not ready to supply cars that meet those needs, while their Japanese and European competitors are.

Blair thinks the time is right for a truly global adoption of international standards, but he doubts that it will happen anytime soon.

“Twenty years ago, you had mature markets fighting with new markets to accept the same standards because that was easier for them, with new markets fighting to protect themselves. Now, it is more equilibrated. The world is now becoming truly global, so there is a common interest to have common standards.”

While the rest of the world either officially or for all practical matters adopts the UNECE standards, the U.S., and by extension Canada, becomes insular. Exports from the U.S. would become much easier if the U.S. automakers would abandon their resistance to global standards.

Patrick Blain was elected president of OICA in February 2011. Blain is president of the French Automobile Manufacturers’ Association CCFA. Blain spent most of his career at Renault (from 1977), where he held various managing positions. Blain replaced Dave McCurdy who had headed OICA in his capacity as president of the U.S. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

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3 of 22 comments
  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Nov 02, 2011

    Dave, don't worry about global growth for the next few years. It looks like Greece is already building the gallows for all of Europe.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Nov 03, 2011

    There's no such thing as a global car that you can build anywhere and sell anywhere, unmodified. There are differences in the standards everywhere, it's just that the UN is euro-centric with emissions standards to satisfy the leftist euro-elite. Driving conditions in America differ markedly from Europe, South America and Asia, as do fuel prices and taxes so solutions must be different. The UN's one-world philosophy is a fantasy that won't be achievable anytime soon.

  • Redapple2 I d just buy one already sorted. Too many high level skills (wiring, paint, body panel fitment et. al.) that i dont have. And I dont fancy working 100 s of hours for $3 /hour.
  • 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
  • Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs