In the French car manufacturers come together all characteristics of the country, the enormous state intervention, even if the firm do not belongs to it, the long holidays, which, unfortunately, fit to low demand. One gets the impression in France, replicate the unhappy times of British Leyland in the UK.
In England, the Labour government also interfered far too much and forced many brands to exist under one umbrella, so that for example the identity and quality of Jaguar was no longer visible. The trade unions also played to the last its trump cards. Result: There are still car production but guided from the continent e.g. Mini.
Will France have the same effect? Where has remained the consciousness of the golden years of French car production? Shortly after the turn of the century the French manufacturers, succeeded to leave far behind, the country of the actual inventors of the automobile and soon even America to emulate. With Renault and Citroen one has at least two companies in constant competition.
On the continent France is classified as the homeland of mass car production. Between the wars, one experiences here additionally the heyday of Bugatti, Delages, Delahayes, Hispanics Suizas, Talbot-Lagos and Voisins. No, not a small-and middle class for which one will later become famous, but exuberant upper class vehicles with more than a touch of luxury created for business leaders and kings (see picture and video).
Famous inventions bear French names: Cardan shaft from Renault, front-wheel drive joints from Tracta, "Gangster limousine" by Citroen. After the Second World War, so it goes on, for example with the 2CV and the "goddess" of Citroen. Renault is limited to "bread and butter cars" and is also successful. Peugeot will be a standard for innovative middle class technology below unremarkable bodywork.
The export is booming also including to Germany. For a R4 one does not need to advertise, it is torn from the hands of the dealers. The rust, the customer noticed only later and then one can sell to him also still drive shafts. In 1980, one is with far more than 3 million cars sold the Germans on the heels with about 4 million. But unfortunately, one can already see the negative trends.
E.g. Renault does not succeed to gain ground in U.S. The government intervenes here already by forcing Peugeot, to assimilate Simca-Chrysler and later also Citroen. There are important decisions which today preponderate. Several attempts fail, to enter the sector of the upper class and to earn more money on each product.
China as a potential future market will be not considered sufficient, plants there does not really arise. Joint ventures, yes, but already stopped again partly and with far too little vigour. Instead all governments try, whether conservative or socialist, to protect domestic jobs with enormous subsidies. And this with e.g. compared to Germany rising unit labor costs in recent years.
Meanwhile, Germany produces within its borders more than three times as many cars as France. And this at much higher average prices, although Germany has also invested heavily in foreign manufacturing plants. The massive protecting of jobs result in underutilized factories and ultimately the loss of all.
Certainly there are good approaches as the apparent successful engagement of Renaultat Nissan and the cooperation with Mercedes. The take now even its smallest diesel engine of the A-Class from French shelves which issues this a really good report. But overall, were missed important trends and others have been overvalued.
Since there is e.g. the long tradition of French car manufacturers with electric cars which however is not really helpful for modern developments. The state has recently even increased the subsidies for electric cars. But what is the use except for the enlargement of the already rich record of debt? Or perhaps is a solution of striking simplicity the more expensive combination of e-drive and diesel engine? 07/12