While the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, France might just have witnessed a return to normalcy as far as the car market is concerned. Car sales in the country plummeted to a new low in April, as the country witnessed an 88 percent drop in demand.
An automobile study carried out by La Plateforme reveals that sales in the auto industry of France for June are just at par with the sales during June of last year. The monthly figures were published by La Plateforme and its Director General Marc Mortureux during the month of July.
“We remain cautious because the last days of the month are very important, but there are clear signs of a restart,” Mortureux said in an interview. “After catastrophic months of March, April and May, the month of June is shaping up to be near normal at last year’s level, which was in itself relatively high.”
While orders are almost near normal, the Director General believes that the current French car industry production levels are still at 60 percent of what they were before the crisis. Still a 50 percent increase from the 40 percent they were at during the last month.
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRq6IA0Cno8
German based Volkswagen, one of the top sellers in the French car market, recently pulled out a social media advertisement after it was heavily criticized for its racist overtones.
The ten-second ad posted across Instagram, FB and Twitter, showed a massive white hand intrude in and push a black man away from next to a new Volkswagen Golf on the road. The hand then moved on to flick the black man into a French café.
Commenters on social media were disgusted by the overt racism at display in the advertisement. Volkswagen immediately removed the ad from across all social media.
“Without question: the video is inappropriate and tasteless,” Volkswagen wrote. “We will clarify how something like this could happen, and there will be consequences.”
“Many initiatives in the company and in our global workforce promote diversity, integration and unprejudiced cooperation,” Volkswagen said. “That makes it all the more annoying that we made this mistake.”
Finding its roots in Nazi Germany to produce the people’s car, Volkswagen realizes the precarious situation it is in considering its history and the way people look at the brand. They vow to position themselves against all forms of xenophobia, racism and discrimination.
YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBTs67Oh1MI
A French Media Daily has reported that French automobile giant Renault has earmarked three of its manufacturing and assembling factories for an early closure in France. The move has come as a result of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, as companies reel from lowered consumer interest toward automobiles.
Renault as a company has plenty of fixed costs to cover and the company might not be able to continue on this trend going into the future. According to reports from the newspaper, it is the Alpine A110 producing factory on the outskirts of Paris that will be the first to shut down.
Similarly, Renault will also shut down another facility located at Flins.
Recently, thousands protested on the streets of France against the job cuts on the cards by Renault.
“It’s an earthquake that is taking place. We want to keep our company here,” Jerome Delvaux, a union member, said.
“This demonstration today is very important, even if it is a first step, to show the government and Renault that workers and residents of this area are committed to this company and that we have support,” Delvaux added.
“We need these jobs, otherwise it’s a whole territory that will die,” he said.
The company is looking to target savings, but these savings have certain repercussions that it isn’t accounting for.
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNIOehncMj4
Car sales in the French market have come to a screeching halt as the country reels from the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown. March saw a steep contraction of 72 percent, but the downfall for April has been even more severe. All businesses deemed non-essential, including auto dealers, have been closed since March 17th.
Only 20,000 units were sold during the month of April, out of which 17,000 were sold by the two biggest automaker models in France, PSA and Renault.
“There were some deliveries, some car registrations, especially by Renault and PSA, for medical staff, government workers and individuals who had ordered and already paid for their cars,” Francois Roudier, spokesman for the CCFA, told AFP.
Looking ahead, “it will be the recovery plan that determines the state of the market over the year,” Roudier said. “There are a lot of unknowns.”
The unknown factors in the market include speculations over when the lockdown will be lifted and by when we can expect a full fledged return back to normalcy. Until then, consumers and buyers would have to live and bear with the reduced sales and market growth in the automotive sector.
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZQUEOrS3bA
Corona is at play and the world seems to be suffering at its hands. Almost all financial, sporting, business and other activities have come to a standstill because of the impacts of COVID-19. While the virus has struck hard all over the world, Europe seems to be hit the most by it. France, Spain, England, Italy and Netherlands are all reeling from it.
The repercussions of COVID-19 include a lockdown across all countries of Europe. What this has meant is that there is little to no financial and business activities happening around.
The impact of the virus was also felt by the French car registration agencies. French Car Manufacturers PSA reported that their car registrations fell by a massive 73.43 percent in March. This is a record fall and is a severe shock to the embittered manufacturers.
PSA is responsible for making cars for the Peugeot and Citroen brands. Additionally Renault also reported a 71.6 percent drop in their registered vehicles. This total drop will harm the economy as consumers have literally altered their spending patterns.
Whether the world ever comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be seen, but what we do know is that the French Car industry is suffering damage beyond repair.
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUBL2IlORFU
Drivers of French Cars registered on ride-sharing apps such as Marcel, Uber, and Kapten will soon be going into a strike because of poor policies by both the government and the ride-sharing apps in question.
The decision was taken by the INV, which is the national union for all drivers and cars registered in ride-sharing applications. All drivers and stakeholders for these apps are expected to gather for a protest outside the Paris Uber Headquarters on the 6th of March. This protest is meant to urge the ride-sharing company to pay heed toward their demands.
The grievances for the ride-sharing app drivers include insane commission charged by the parent company they work under, no minimum payment being given on rides, and high chances of suspension if they cancel a trip.
President of the Union Brahmin Ben Ali sided with the drivers and said this was a precarious profession, which needs social protection and government justice. Drivers have special grievances with Uber after the company implemented a change in policy to suspend drivers who refuse rides. This leaves drivers without a source of income or access to work all of a sudden.
There were previous protests against Uber 4 years ago, which turned violent. Hopes are these protests remain safe, and violence is avoided.
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI-E8Llca74
Vandals from the town of Strasbourg in France started the Year 2020 by burning several cars in the city. A number of videos showed countless vehicles set on fire on New Year’s Eve. The acts of arson continued across the city, as police tried to hush down this eerie but common French tradition.
The burning of French vehicles is an unfortunate but still existent New Year’s tradition within some parts of France. According to the tradition, mobs target and torch numerous cars they think are violating their space. Local media reported that over 1,031 vehicles were torched within the country during New Year’s Eve. While no official figures indicating the overall damage have been released so far, social media videos have shown quite depressing pictures from Strasbourg.
Footages circulating across social media show many burned vehicles, many of them lying overturned on the streets of Strasbourg. One of the viral clips shows a series of burnt vehicles lying across the road, presenting a rather gloomy sight for anyone to see to on a night that is known for celebrations across the globe.
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/9DKKM7eBgn0
What is the one thing that you always check before leading the police into a high profile chase? The fuel in your car! A French Car driver, driving his car at a speed of 240kph in a 90kph zone was caught after the fuel ran out of his car.
The French car driver surely thought he could outdo the police and could run away free of all charges, but that wasn’t to happen. The driver, who was driving a Mercedes Class C 63 AMG, violated the speed limit multiple times, before being actively ensued by the police. The driver was alerted by the police to stop, but instead of doing so he further intensified the chase.
The cat and mouse chase was being won by the driver, when the Mercedes ran out of petrol somewhere along the A7 motorway. The police reached over to the car, only to see two passengers sitting on the rear seats. Both passengers alleged that someone else was driving the car and had fled away after the vehicle ran out of fuel. But, the police later identified that it was indeed one of the self-proclaimed passengers who was driving the car.
The driver was taken into custody and the vehicle impounded. The police believed the vehicle wasn’t fit for roads as it had alterations that could put the lives of other drivers in danger.
While we all should look to avoid any chases with the police, if you do get involved in one, it is necessary that you give the fuel meter a glance.
Drivers when they go on the roads are looking for a lot of convenience and performance from the car they are driving. Hence, when a car fails to meet their expectation they are quick to note it down and take it off from the list of cars that they would recommend others to drive.
In a poll conducted by car magazine Auto Express, British drivers were asked to vote the car makes and models based on the performance they provide on the road.
Two French car manufacturers gathered lamentable results on the poll, as they picked up the last positions in the poll of 35. All voters weren’t in favor of Peugeot and Renault, as both of them picked the last spots on the poll.
Peugeot was voted the worst by the voters as it got the last stop on the poll, while Renault finished second to last at 34th. Citroen, which is another French manufacturer, finished 28th on the poll!
The poll was topped by Skoda, with Lexus, Porsche, Jaguar and Honda coming 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. British drivers haven’t taken a liking for both Peugeot and Renault, which is a concern for both these car manufacturers.
France is famous for its absurd laws, but we believe there will be one less law to worry about after the French Government decided to scrap the law requiring drivers to carry one breathalyzer inside their cars.
The controversial rule was first introduced in March 2013, after which all car owners in France were required to carry a breathalyzer in their cars at all times. The new transport bill by the French government will now dispose this law and will make arrangements for better policies.
The allowance for alcohol while driving is almost half of what it is across the Channel. The UK allows an alcohol limit of 0.8 mg/ml, while France only allows a limit of 0.5 mg/ml for adult drivers and a reduced limit of 0.2 mg/ml for young drivers.
Rod Dennis, the spokesperson for the RAC, responded to this news and mentioned, “While the law governing drivers carrying breathalyzers in France might be about to change, drivers heading across the Channel should still remember that the country has a much stricter drink-drive limit than in the UK – and anyone caught over the limit faces some very tough penalties.”
He further added, “The best advice is to never drink and drive, whether driving in France or elsewhere. For any driver that still chooses to, it still makes a lot of sense to carry a portable breathalyzer to check they are well below the relevant legal limit.”
Hunter Abbot, the Managing Director of a breathalyzer manufacturer called AlcoSense, also spoke on this issue and mentioned, “It is still a legal requirement to carry an NF-approved breathalyzer in the vehicle while driving in France and that will be the case for a while yet. With the French limit significantly lower than the English limit and the penalties harsher, it would still be advisable to carry a breathalyzer to test yourself while driving in France and avoid unintentionally drink driving.”
While the new laws are in process, all French car owners should have at least one breathalyzer with them at all times.