France's Solution To Burning Cars Problem: Snuff The Story

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
frances solution to burning cars problem snuff the story

The ritual torching of cars has become a New Year’s tradition in France. Last New Year ’s Eve, 1,137 cars went up in flames in France, a tad less than the 1,147 set ablaze the year before. This year? We’ll never know.

This time around, “the French government is determined to stamp out these scenes of anarchy as part of its highly-publicized campaign against crime,” France24 announced. And that’s what they did, to great effect.

In addition to mobilizing 6,000 extra police officers (800 more than last year, and what good did that do,) France’s Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux instituted a news blackout. The number of torched cars will remain a secret. That, Hortefeux, is to stop the “unhealthy competition” which supposedly eggs on the perpetrators to set fire to more and more cars each year.

“I have decided to put an end to the competition, the sweepstakes, and will no longer publish the number of burnt vehicles,” Hortefeux said. “It is not to hide, but to disrupt a stupid contest that involves burning the cars of honest people.”

According to CNews, the numbers will be buried “as part of annual vandalism figures.”

And it works! No doubt, the French have upheld their tradition and torched now countless cars. But so far, not a single word in the press. Problem solved!

The black-out is so complete that when you google the news for “burning cars france”, you find this story.

Over in Germany, the situation was likewise under control. The German hot-spots for car torchings used to be Berlin and Hamburg. Zero reports of inflamed cars from Berlin. Hamburg reports six. A pretty regular day in a city that counted 140 smoldering cars last year.

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  • Bancho Bancho on Jan 02, 2011

    I always thought the annual car-b-ques were a sort of backdoor "cash for clunkers" scheme...

  • Contrarian Contrarian on Jan 03, 2011

    "they all know fifth estate is slacking off badly these days." One thing we can agree on. But not surprising when most journalism schools are more like socialist revolution labs.

  • Make_light I drive a 2015 A4 and had one of these as a loaner once. It was a huge disappointment (and I would have considered purchasing one as my next car--I'm something of a small crossover apologist). The engine sounded insanely coarse and unrefined (to the point that I wasn't sure if it was poor insulation or there was something wrong with my loaner). The seats, interior materials, and NVH were a huge downgrade compared to my dated A4. I get that they are a completely different class of car, but the contrast struck me. The Q3 just didn't feel like a luxury vehicle at all. Friends of mine drive a Tiguan and I can't think of one way in which the Q3 feels worth the extra cost. My mom's CX-5 is better than either in every conceivable way.
  • Arthur Dailey Personally I prefer a 1970s velour interior to the leather interior. And also prefer the instrument panel and steering wheel introduced later in the Mark series to the ones in the photograph. I have never seen a Mark III or IV with a 'centre console'. Was that even an option for the Mark IV? Rather than bucket seats they had the exceptional and sorely missed 60/40 front seating. The most comfortable seats of all for a man of a 'certain size'. In retrospect this may mark the point when Cadillac lost it mojo. Through the early to mid/late 70's Lincoln surpassed Cadillac in 'prestige/pride of place'. Then the 'imports' took over in the 1980s with the rise of the 'yuppies'.
  • Arthur Dailey Really enjoying this series and the author's writing style. My love of PLC's is well known. And my dream stated many times would be to 'resto mod' a Pucci edition Mark IV. I did have a '78 T-Bird, acquired brand new. Preferred the looks of the T-Bird of this generation to the Cougar. Hideaway headlights, the T-Birds roof treatment and grille. Mine had the 400 cid engine. Please what is with the engine displacements listed in the article? I am Canada and still prefer using cubic inches when referencing any domestic vehicles manufactured in the 20th century. As for my T-Bird the engine and transmission were reliable. Not so much some of the other mechanical components. Alternator, starter, carburetor. The vehicle refused to start multiple times, usually during the coldest nights/days or in the most out of the way spots. My friends were sure that it was trying to kill me. Otherwise a really nice, quiet, 'floaty' ride, with easy 'one finger' steering and excellent 60/40 split front seat. One of these with modern mechanicals/components would be a most excellent highway cruiser.
  • FreedMike Maybe they should buy Twitter now.
  • FreedMike A lot of what people are calling "turbo lag" may actually be the transmission. In this case, Audi used a standard automatic in this application versus the DSG, and that makes a big difference. The pre-2022 VW Arteon had the same issue - plenty of HP, but the transmission held it back. If Audi had used the DSG, this would be a substantially quicker, more engaging car. In any case, I don't get these "entry lux" compact CUVs (think: Cadillac XT4, Lexus NX, BMW X1, etc). If you must have a compact CUV, I can think of far better options for a lot less money. And, no, the Tiguan isn't one of them - it has the Miller-cycle 2.0T, so it's a dog. But a Mazda CX-30 with the 2.5T would fit the bill.