French Government Taking The Wheel At Renault

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
french government taking the wheel at renault

A few months back I noted that the French government was interfering in the car industry by demanding French plants stay open as a condition of their bailout of Renault. Well, things are getting even more….well….French. New York times (via Reuters) reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has summoned Renault and Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn for a cosy chat. Actually, “grilling” might be better way of putting it. The invitation has come about after reports surfaced that Renault might be producing its new Clio in Turkey, rather than France. This could be considered state bullying, but the French State is a 15% shareholder in Renault. French Industry minister, Christian Estrosi made absolutely no effort to cover this coercion.

“I want to say very clearly … that we would not be well disposed towards a decision to have the Clio 4 mainly produced in Turkey. Decisions will come from the meeting that meet the choices that the president of the republic, as a shareholder of the Renault group, will impose upon them,” Estrosi said. At an earlier news conference, Christian Estrosi said that Patrick Pelata, Renault’s Chief Operating Officer, had pledged not to cut jobs at their plant in Flins, where the current Clio is made.

The whole situation fills ones head with questions. Why would Renault say they are looking to move production abroad and not cut jobs at the current factory? Will the EU tear France a new one? Will the inefficiencies of Renault permeate into Nissan? And how long before America’s state-owned automakers start feeling the heavy hand of the state on their shoulders? Oh right.

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7 of 10 comments
  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jan 13, 2010

    Ok, for those of you who cry about Obama being a socialist, take note: this is socialism, not the limp wristed, arm's-length, compromise-ridden, cash-wasting money pits that the US or UK tried.

    • 7 7 on Jan 13, 2010

      Sarkozy ? Socialist ? Come on, get real and try to find something like "ideologies for dummies". You might learn something...

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Jan 13, 2010

    Turkey isn't part of the EU. And it's not for a lack of trying on their part.

    Brussels would spring into action if a factory in Latvia would be denied the Clio. They won't lift a finger for Turkey.

    As for the overused socialism, I agree with #7 and recommend reading Ideologies for Dummies before using the phrase ever again. Until the book is out, a trip to Wikipedia wouldn't hurt. Sarkozy defeated the socialist party in France. His party is the centrist UMP.

    • Stingray Stingray on Jan 14, 2010

      LOL, there's even a Chavez pic in that Wiki link.

  • John Horner John Horner on Jan 14, 2010

    If you don't want an organization or person to have influence over you .... don't take their money. As to the notion that government pressure is always bad while decisions made independently by CEOs are always good, I beg to differ.

  • Disaster Disaster on Jan 14, 2010

    Socialism-Smochialism. There seems to be a lot of people that get democracy and capitalism mixed up. This is exactly the sort of thing our gov't should have done with the banks when they had the leverage. If you want this money, you have to agree to loan it out to small businesses. If you want this money you have to agree to work with home owners in foreclosure. If you want this money you can't have fees that amount to 3000% interest...and so on. As it was, we spent insane amounts of money so a few financial institutions could shore up their bottom line...with little effect on the U.S. economy overall.