A few years ago, a deal between Iran and a French car manufacturer would’ve been unthinkable.
Iran was an outcast, a global pariah. It was struggling under the weight of crippling economic sanctions over its nuclear program as each of its industries, including automobiles, was reaching the breaking point. However, the 2015 deal between Iran, the US, and the P5+1 States cleared the way for the lifting of economic sanctions and the resumption of trade between Iran and other states.
But now the doorways are open. Iran’s economy is on the way up. And the French car manufacturers don’t want to miss the golden opportunity.
A few days ago, Renault reached a deal with Iran’s government to establish a plant in the country with a capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles a year. The CEO of Renault-Nissan Carlos Ghosn maintains that the demand for cars in Iran could reach 2 million in 2020. Who would want to ignore such a lucrative opportunity?
This is, by no means, the first development between Iran and a French manufacturer. Renault’s rival PSA Peugeot Citroën also wants to produce 150,000 vehicles a year in the country, a figure it aims to double in 2017.
With the number of French manufacturers flocking to capture the blooming Iranian automobile market, it’s clear that the future of French automobile sales lies in Iran.
It goes from 0 to 60 in just 2.5 seconds.
Since it was introduced in June 2012, the Tesla Model S has become one of the company’s key offerings and the face of the electronic car industry. It became the first electric car to score first place in the monthly new car sales rankings anywhere in the world. By December 2015, the company had sold more than 100,000 units.
Not to mention that the car scored a perfect 5.0 on the American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration automobile safety rating.
However, questions were raised on the safety of the vehicle during the company’s latest attempt to bring the success of their vehicle to France. The company was busy promoting its Model S and Model X in Biarritz, France in its ‘Electric Road Trip’ tour where an unusual event occurred.
As some passengers and a Tesla employee were on a test drive in the Model S 90D, they heard a loud sound and the vehicle indicated a problem with the charging. Soon after they exited the vehicle, it burst into flames.
The story received widespread attention in the media and caused Tesla’s stocks to drop several points.
Although the cause of the fire is still unknown, this is by no means the first fire incident involving a Tesla Model S. In view of the numerous reported cases of a Tesla Model S catching fire, it’s a wonder how the vehicle gained such a perfect score in the safety ratings in the first place.
Almost a year after the Volkswagen emission scandal, Europe still hasn’t made sufficient progress on preventing car manufacturers from tricking emission tests rather than making actual progress on reducing the level of emissions.
This was revealed in a report presented by French authorities on Friday. After a thorough investigation of diesel cars by manufacturers – including Fiat, Ford, and France’s very own Renault – the investigators have been unable to find any evidence proving that the manufacturers haven’t performed illegal modifications.
Additionally, the report also claimed that the car manufacturers were “encouraged” by the European authorities to create cars that had the capability of polluting more than the EU limits.
Among the culprits was the Renault Talisman with a staggering difference between lab tests and real world figures. The level of toxic nitrogen oxides emitted by the vehicle in the lab results stand at 57.6mg/km whereas, in the real world, it’s somewhere around 926.1mg/km.
Will the French government take any action against Renault? Some of the French media outlets don’t think so. The Guardian reported a French business magazine as saying:
“The line is hazy between cheating and optimisation … in short, what might be barely morally defensible would be perfectly legal. The chances are pretty slim that any constructor will suffer the slightest reproach. The royal commission [which produced the report], like all its European counterparts, seems little more than a waste of time.”
Linda Jackson, the CEO of Citroën, has recently been named as the most influential British woman in the car industry.
During the course of her career, Linda Jackson has proved herself worthy of all the accolades and acclaim that came her way. She is not only the first British CEO of Citroën, but also the first woman ever to hold the job.
Appointed in June 2014, Jackson took charge of Citroën in troubled times when its parent company PSA Peugeot Citroën was struggling to curb losses in some of its traditional markets. But her vision was clear. “We want to be more creative, affordable and offer things that really matter to mainstream customers,” she said in an interview back then.
She has definitely delivered on the promise of creativity. One of the examples is the C4 Cactus which featured sleek and slim headlights, innovative plastic side panels, and pop-out rear windows. The Cactus was an instant hit with those who wanted style with substance but at an affordable rate.
It seemed that, with the C4, Jackson had achieved her vision of designing vehicles that were “between different and bizarre.”
However, not everyone is satisfied. Bertrand Rakoto, an automotive consultant, claims “the problem with Citroen is nobody knows exactly what its positioning is compared to the Peugeot brand.”
How successful Jackson’s business strategies are in the future still remains to be seen.
If you drive a car that was built before 1997, maybe it would be a good idea to drop the plans of visiting Paris for the holidays.
The city of love, old things, and love for old things will not tolerate vintage cars anymore. The ban on old vehicles was a part of measures implemented by the Parisian socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo. If you are in Paris, you’re not allowed to drive a car older than 1997 or a motorcycle older than 2000. Doing so can result in a penalty ranging from €35 to a staggering €450.
The goal is simple. According to the mayor, the ban will reduce the smog across the city and lead to improved traffic conditions. It’s an attempt to drastically cut emission levels for better environmental conditions.
Although designed to deliver on the environmental promise, the ban is attracting its fair share of criticism from some of the less affluent sections of the society. The measures are being perceived as highly elitist and socially unjust. The critics are speaking against the law which, in their opinion, penalizes the poor just because of their social status.
The problem is particularly critical in the suburban areas of the French capital where a lot of the city’s workers reside. Many of these workers cannot afford to buy newer vehicles and may face the brunt of enhanced environmental protection plans.
Carlos Ghosn must feel like he’s on the top of the world right now.
Last week, the Lebanese born CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance had a wide grin on his face while shaking hands with Osamu Masuko, the chief executive of Mitsubishi, the newest addition to the Renault-Nissan. Ghosn has many reasons to be more than pleased about the deal. Not least of them is the fact that the deal will propel the alliance into the leagues of the Big Three – General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen. With combined global sales of 9.6 million vehicles annually, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi could be the next major player of the game.
However, does that wide grin hide his trepidations? And there are many. The foremost among them is the potential fallout from the Mitsubishi’s scandal. The Japanese car manufacturer found itself in the midst of an outcry over inflated fuel economy figures. The deal, which might be a huge leap forward in Ghosn’s career, might also destroy it.
Another reason to worry is that it will bring him further on a collision course with the French government. Mitsubishi’s inclusion into the mix could potentially exacerbate the conflict between Ghosn and the French government, which has previously intervened to acquire double voting rights for the long-term investors in the alliance and led a shareholder rebellion against Ghosn’s €7.3m pay package for 2015.