Last chance to apply for the AFC Leaders Summit on Tuesday in Brussels

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Richard Knubben, director general at Leaseurope

A flood of cheap Chinese BEVs may look attractive to a region intent on reducing its carbon footprint to zero by 2050. But now the EU is faced with a deluge of auto imports, Ursula Von Leyen president of the European Commission, instead announced late last year an investigation into the supply of inexpensive, Chinese-made BEVs into Europe.

The problem faced by the EU is that commercial realities are starting to intrude on their green objectives – and they face the prospect of losing their auto industry if they stick to their green deal timeline. This outcome is not acceptable. Faced with the prospect, the new message coming out of the Commission is that Green Deal objectives will be tempered by economic necessity from now on.

The green-commercial dilemma is a central theme in Richard Knubben’s opening address at the AFC leaders’ summit in Europe and a matter for impassioned debate among delegates.

Knubben will also talk about the likely impact of the EU elections in June, which may result in a significant swing to the right leaving the sustainability champions of the green, socialist and central parties with significantly less say.

The sustainability challenge will also be addressed by second keynote Benedikt Middendorf, director at Deloitte, who will make a different, but not necessarily opposing point that the industry has now baked-in much of the transition to BEVs. The focus for lenders should be on establishing business models that work in the new environmentally focussed world because an electric-dominated infrastructure is coming, whether its delayed or not. This point is likely to be echoed by DLL ai CEO, Mike Janse whose organisation has already established the infrastructure and developed the capabilities to deliver advanced finance models which drive sustainability.

Jochen Jehmlich, former CEO at SGEF will provide a different perspective, and one we are hearing increasingly from bank owned asset finance companies. He will ask whether the industry should be focussed on advanced finance models which drive sustainability, but have proven to be unpopular with customers who show early interest but ultimately end up paying less by using traditional finance including HP and leases.

Bill Stephenson, global CEO at PEAC Solutions will argue that asset finance subsidiaries of banks tend to be the last mouth to feed at their bank, and the margins right now make them unattractive recipients for scarce capital. Stephenson, who now runs an independent finance company is likely to argue in favour of taking more aggressive residuals and increasing margins.

Finally John Saffrett, group deputy CEO of Ayvens will talk about the challenge of who pays for the BEV transition. There is some concern among fleet providers that the French Government whose social leasing program proved so successful they had to close it, may look to finance companies to fund the transition using penalties (malus) instead of rewards for having too low a percentage of BEVs in their fleets.

The AFC Leaders’ Summit Europe has some great topics for discussion among its very senior attendees. The event will be a significant gathering of the brightest and best from the industry. If you have not yet claimed your place – there is still time. But only just.

Email and she will do her best to get you booked in. Entry is free to attend, and available to senior industry representatives from Europe.

The Asset Finance Connect Leaders’ Summit Europe is an invitation only one day event taking place at the Steigenberger Icon Wiltcher’s in Brussels on April 16, 2024.


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