Abstract

Critical raw materials (CRMs) are crucial for the transformation towards low carbon mobility. However, their production is often highly concentrated in a few countries, which leads to supply risks. Exemplified by the case of rare earth elements (REEs) and based on in-depth interviews with corporate executives from companies along the automotive supply chain, this contribution provides insights into the strategies of the European automotive industry to cope with these supply risks. Results show a lack of awareness of REE criticality studies and their outcomes in the past, the decisive role of price competitiveness when pursuing mitigation strategies and a lack of willingness or ability to engage in rare earth (RE) projects to get access to production output and secure supply. Overall, affected companies struggle to pursue long-term oriented strategies to secure their need for REEs. These findings are discussed with regard to the new demand for CRMs due to the shift to electric mobility and the specific challenges that the automotive industry faces.

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