#Dieselgate: France’s Economy Minister points fingers at Detroit, Bloomberg suppresses story

Macron points finger at Detroit, somewhere over his right shoulder

Macron points finger at Detroit, somewhere over his right shoulder

France’s Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron accuses American automakers of exploiting the crisis at Volkswagen to “weaken the European industry,” media reports from France say. Frankly, I would be astonished if Detroit lets the scandal go by without a little hay making. American news outlets apparently think the story is too much for the tender feelings of their readers, and they actively suppress the story. [Continue Reading]

Warburton declares French Renaissance. Could be followed by a revolution.

Dacia-Logan-France-March-2014-Picture courtesy Bestsellingcarsblog.com

For a while, yours truly has been monitoring the impressive gains of Renault’s affordable Dacia line in a still difficult (albeit slowly mending) European market. Now, Max Warburton of Bernstein Research sees Dacia as the centerpiece of a “French Renaissance” in Europe. “VW’s relentless gains seem to have come to a halt,” writes the analyst. “The French appear to have stopped losing share – Renault has been a big gainer this year and PSA is also showing some positive signs.” [Continue Reading]

The giant in hiding

Un - deux - trois

Un – deux – trois

Each year, the world’s top automakers scrounge up every last car they find in their spreadsheets to win the world’s most brutal car race: The one for World’s Largest Automaker. Officially, they don’t really mean it, officially, they say it’s a morale booster for the employees at best, but in the privacy of their offices, they all take it darn seriously. All, except one: The Nissan-Renault Alliance. It’s a giant in hiding. [Continue Reading]

PSA, Europe’s second-largest carmaker, taken over by two governments


They make those too

Dongfeng makes those too

As the Chinese New Year (where all of China pretty much shuts down for pretty much a month) edges closer, the deal to provide PSA Peugeot Citroen with a desperately needed capital injection is edging closer. The bottom line is that PSA will be saved by two governments, the French and the Chinese. The French do the deal to preserve jobs and prestige. It will be interesting to see what the Chinese will make out of it. [Continue Reading]

Iran Auto industry Conference: France Goes Back Alone?

China goes where others fear to tread...

China goes where others fear to tread…

In the leadup to last weekend’s Auto Industry International Conference in Tehran, organizers boasted that nearly every nation would be represented, including “France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Britain, China, India, Czech Republic, South Korea, Spain, Egypt, Switzerland and Denmark.” In the extended [sic] of one recent official press release, “US automakers are better not to miss the opportunity.”

But miss it they apparently have, along with all the non-French global majors.

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France: GM Officials Meeting With Iran


Iran so far away...

Iran so far away…

GM’s alliance with PSA Peugeot-Citroen is one of the bigger mysteries of recent automotive history, fusing two badly underperforming operations tied to a market that’s desperate for consolidation. And, sure enough, as time has passed the scope of the alliance has been reduced, GM’s investment has been written down, and even core platform-sharing aspects of the alliance are being left behind. Without a strong justification in the first place, the GM-PSA alliance has now drifted into pure incomprehensibility, leaving analysts scratching their heads and wondering what comes next.

In the absence of even a basic narrative with which to make sense of the GM-PSA dealings, analysis of the situation from France has turned towards anger at GM. Though it has gone totally uncovered in the US media (at least as far as I can tell), French journalists are now alleging that GM’s PSA maneuvers were all about Iran. The allegation, if true, is stunning: that GM’s alliance with PSA was an attempt to wedge the French automaker out of a market it has long dominated, and that with relations thawing between the US and Iran, GM officials have been meeting counterpoints at Iran Khodro to prepare for GM’s re-entry into that market.

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Le Comeback: Renault returns to America, under Mitsubishi cover

Le Car - Picture courtesy photobucket.com

Renault hasn’t sold cars in the U.S. since the post-disco-era and the sale of AMC to Chrysler. Renault cars are about to return to the Promised Land, albeit in Mitsubishi mufti.

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Without the Corsa, GM’s deal with PSA is dead

2010 Opel Corsa Color Race

When, in early 2012, GM bought seven percent of the moribund PSA Peugeot Citroen, with the intent of coupling it with its likewise moribund Opel, just about everybody who understood the car business developed deep lacerations from incessant head-scratching. Combining two sickos usually is not a recipe for health. Unimpressed by logic, the happy couple promised annual cost savings of $2 billion. Now, the deal is entering the terminal phase. [Continue Reading]