The French automotive industry is on its ass. The economic crisis, as we all know caused by banks, has hit particularly hard in France with those manufacturers that haven’t got seriously big operations in emerging markets: PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Renault, i.e. all of them.
PSA recently announced it would have to lay off some 8,000 of its personnel in France, about 8% of its total staff in the home market. When that hit the news, it was better than expected, primarily due to some smartly played earlier reports in the news that quoted job losses for 10,000 full time equivalents. Regardless, fresh president Mr. Francois Hollande, from the socialist camp, wasn’t feeling it and wouldn’t have any of it.
He isn’t just going to leave it at that though and he’s coming up with a constructive alternative right now. You have to appreciate that in the man. I don’t know how it works in the UK, but in the Netherlands a bunch of politicians would’ve just screamed ‘murder, fire and burglars’ and left it at that.
So, what do Hollande’s measures entail? Obviously his measures combine the intention to stimulate the French automotive industry with the intention to become greener. Therefore, buyers of an electric car will get 2,000 Euros subsidy extra (7,000 instead of 5,000) and those that opt for a hybrid receive 4,000 instead of 2,000. These measures are expected to add up to an expense line of approximately 500 million Euros, which will be paid for by taxing the more polluting cars extra. Now let’s hope the French won’t spend their extra cash on Priuses, Insights and Volts.
Furthermore, there’ll be an ‘aid credit fund’ of in total 500 million for carmakers that need a bit of push.
But the best thing of all? Director Luc Besson, known for his Taxi movies, is hired to shoot a promo for the image of the French automobile. I’m hoping for something involving a bank job!