BRUSSELS -- European auto executives met with the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to discuss ways to tackle the region's overcapacity problem and the general outlook for the industry.
The executives included Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, Ford Motor Co.'s European chief, Stephen Odell, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's chief Philippe Varin.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said a serious escalation of the eurozone debt crisis is too big an event for European industry to plan for. "You can do all planning you like, these are such seismic movements that no plan will work," Marchionne said on Friday at a news conference in Brussels after the meeting.
"One of my hopes is to find a will to achieve the economic stability in Europe, which will lessen the burden on the industry," Marchionne said. "We need a healthy market" to be able to address the industry's "structural overcapacity.
Daimler's Zetsche said Europe's auto sector had experienced "no dramatic effects" so far from the debt crisis, but that the risks to carmakers remained serious.
"Given the weak macroeconomic environment in Europe, the short term outlook for vehicle sales is what worries us," he said.
If EU leaders are able to find a lasting solution to the crisis, European car sales would be stable or slightly lower in 2012 compared with this year, Zetsche said.
"If, on the other hand, the crisis of confidence is further increasing, you would have to calculate with a recession in Europe, which then would have its impact on automotive markets as well," he said.
European car industry body ACEA called in a statement for EU leaders to restore confidence in the eurozone and ensure a stable economy "in which businesses of all sizes can be confident about creating jobs and investing"
Glut of unsold cars
Europe has a growing glut of unsold cars as most automakers continue to churn out vehicles in the face of slumping sales and growing concerns over the sovereign debt crisis and an economic slowdown.
Overcapacity in the region may surge 41 percent to 2.92 million vehicles next year, according to forecasts from IHS Automotive.
Last week in London, Marchionne had said: "The global auto sector has been suffering for years from chronic overcapacity. In Europe, the situation has now reached suffocation point."