EU Should Help Automakers Eliminate Overcapacity Says French Institute

Sergio Marchionne, has also called for a European-wide approach to tackle the problems of overcapacity and competitiveness, and has criticized German carmakers for blocking any movement in this area.

The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), which is an advisory body, probed the state of the French auto industry, which is coming under increasing pressure as European economies stagnate while emerging countries continue to grow apace.

France produced about two million cars last year, slightly more than 3% of the global total, compared to a 10% share for Germany.

"According to current projections for 2015, France will account for 2% of global production, compared to 6% for Germany," warned CESE, which noted that the sector is a major employer.

About 60,000 people are employed directly in automobile assembly plants in France, and adding suppliers and subcontractors the total rises to around 250,000 people, according to industry.

The two main French car makers are PS Peugeot Citroen, which is struggling and is cutting back capacity, and Renault.

The number of French unemployed rose above 3 million for the first time in a decade in September, and the unemployment rate is expected to soon hit 10%.

CESE said that France found itself in the situation of increasing automobile manufacturing overcapacity as it became a net importer of cars.

CESE called on the EU to develop a bloc-wide industrial policy to help modernize manufacturing facilities. France has many ageing factories.

The president of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), Sergio Marchionne, has also called for a European-wide approach to tackle the problems of overcapacity and competitiveness, and has criticized German carmakers for blocking any movement in this area.

CESE also warned that Germany, where the car industry is faring better, and eastern European countries in which Asian and some European manufacturers have set up new factories, would oppose moves to help western European carmakers.

"Inaction in this area will lead to the long-term weakening for French companies with effects on employment," said CESE.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish