France has grown suspicious of Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares’ compensation, which the government has dubbed irregular and indicative of a need for further financial regulations in Europe. The issue doesn’t appear to have much to do with where the money is coming from, but rather the size of his current payment package.
Tavares oversaw the merger between PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2021 while he was still CEO of the former company. Having previously climbed the ranks at Renault, the executive has served as chairman of PSA’s management board since 2014. Now heading Stellantis, Tavares is positioned to receive roughly $20.5 million in compensation for 2021. In addition to that, he’s reportedly eligible for a stock package worth an extra $34.7 million and long-term compensation of about $27.2 million — which the French government believes is too much.
France is offering 2,500 euros (about $2,993 USD) to individuals interested in purchasing electrically driven bicycles. But it’s pursuing the Cash for Clunkers mentality that often leaves us questioning whether the people instituting these environmental plans are familiar with the concept of conservation. Because the current proposal requires participants to throw away their automobiles before they’re granted access to the funds.
Next year, the European Union plans to adopt aggressive new rules that would see automakers fined if their total annual vehicle sales exceed predetermined carbon limits. Obviously automakers aren’t thrilled with the new fines and higher emission mandates, but France is facing additional criticism for its decision to take things a step further.
France’s parliament has adopted a new law penalizing cars that emit carbon dioxide above a certain threshold while still adhering to EU regulations. Vehicles failing to adhere to the French rules will be subject to a 20,000 euros ($22,240) tax in 2020, nearly twice the current fine. Meanwhile, the country is mulling the possibility of culling EV incentives — an odd move, considering its aim to transition its populace to zero-emission vehicles.
As part of Ford’s massive restructuring plan, which is said to focus primarily on its European assets, the automaker will end assembly at its Blanquefort transmission plant in France next year. Its 850 employees will now have to find gainful employment elsewhere by August.
However, there was a brief glimmer of hope after transmission supplier Punch Powerglide (encouraged by the French government) launched a bid to purchase the facility and rescue it from being shuttered.
“Despite thorough and rigorous talks over the past nine months, and the best efforts of both sides, the plan put forward by the potential buyer presents significant risks,” Ford said in a statement. “We do not believe that the prospective buyer’s plans offer the level of security or protection, or limit the risk of possible future job losses, that we would like for the employees.”
PSA Group has a North American headquarters in Atlanta and it wants to use it. The French automaker also has a reentry plan that’s already underway. By the middle of the coming decade, we could all be behind the wheel of a French car (presumably after trading our Dodge Grand Caravans for the Citroën SpaceTourer Rip Curl).
Well, that might not happen — not if the U.S. imposes tariffs on the European Union, anyway. PSA North America Larry Dominique seems pretty worried that President Trump’s eagerness for tariffs could kibosh the company’s return, leaving mournful American francophiles gazing lustily over the Canadian border as PSA goes wild in Quebec.
The threat of new import tariffs has PSA Group worried about its plan to return to the United States. Following President Trump’s proposal to levy a 25-percent tax on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on inbound aluminum, Europe balked at the suggestion, leading to further threats of a car tariff.
Right now, the U.S. levies a 2.5-percent tax on imported European vehicles, far less than Europe’s 10-percent tariff on vehicle travelling eastward across the Atlantic. There’s a 25-percent U.S. tariff on European vans and trucks, too, which explains why crates of Mercedes-Benz van components sail into the port of Charleston, South Carolina at regular intervals.
According to Trump, any European retaliation against the proposed metal tariffs — which seem all the more likely given yesterday’s resignation of the president’s pro-free trade economic advisor, Gary Cohn — would see the U.S. ratchet up its car tariff. If the scenario comes to pass, your dreams of one day buying a new French car in America could easily be dashed.
Carlos Ghosn is pledging to solidify the alliance between Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors after agreeing to stay on as the French automaker’s chairman and CEO for the next four years. He also announced the companies will take the next few weeks to develop a plan to “make the alliance irreversible.”
While we’d love to hear about an automotive blood pact or — better still — a strategy to clone Ghosn for the next hundred years, the final plan will probably be a little more mundane. But, according to the chairman’s Friday announcement, it will not include a merger — at least not until the French government gets out of the way.
At Wednesday’s Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Peugeot SA Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said the French automaker is picking the brains of former Opel engineers to develop vehicles for re-entry into U.S. market. In keeping with current trends, he also said Peugeot will offer electrification as an option on all its vehicles by 2025.
With plans to use the 2017 acquisition of GM’s European Opel and Vauxhall operations as the springboard for global expansion, Americans could eventually find themselves once again experiencing the Gallic delights of French motoring.
A couple of years ago, the French government increased its stake in Renault to 19.73 percent, boosting its influence and secure double voting rights for longer-term investors – itself included – in an alleged attempt to block a resolution that could’ve reduced its control over the company.
At the time, many viewed it as a challenge aimed squarely at Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn and decried the use of the company as a political football. Today, the French government sold 14 million Renault shares, cutting its stake back to 15 percent.
Emission probes have been in fashion for a couple of years now, especially in Europe. In France, the most recent target is FCA. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently under a judicial investigation as to whether or not it misled customers and cheated during emissions testing.
Though the terms of probe are unclear, a letter from the French magistrate kicked off the new investigation earlier this month. In the letter, the head of the investigation says the suspected emissions cheating dates back as early as September 2009, and involves the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Jeep brands. FCA is also under investigation in the United States over possible emissions cheating with its light-duty diesel truck engines.
The long-awaited return of PSA Group — French builder of Citroën, Peugeot, and DS cars — to the U.S. marketplace was never going to be a quick operation. Americans weren’t going to suddenly wake up one morning to see neighbors Bob and Carol bundling the kids into in their brand-new Berlingo Multispace. Their other neighbors, Ted and Alice, wouldn’t suddenly arrive home in their Spacetourer and C-Elysee, jockeying for the parking space closest to the door.
The C4 Cactus, with its quirky Airbump inserts and 1.2-liter three-cylinder, won’t begin appearing in Walgreen lots overnight.
For PSA, returning to the U.S. is akin to a kid standing next to a cold pool, dipping one toe in first, then the foot, followed by the lower leg. To dive in without a plan would be to risk disaster. Having already established that first toehold (which you’d be forgiven for not noticing), the harder stuff awaits, and PSA remains cagey as to when we’ll all be driving around in Citroëns. It just knows it can’t screw it up.
There’s nothing like the antics automakers get up to when fierce rivalry or falling sales forces an emergency pressing of the desperation button. Just last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles found itself in quite a bit of hot water after its long-running sales-recording practices came under the federal microscope. Mounting pressure eventually forced the company to dial back its monthly figures, shattering some advertisement-friendly sales streaks.
Across the pond, Volkswagen now finds itself with egg (quiche?) on its face following a report by its internal auditors. According to German publication Der Spiegel, the automaker plumped up its French sales tallies for years — to the tune of at least 800,000 vehicles.
The details of this latest case of sales fudging, which apparently went undiscovered for seven years, seem particularly brazen.
Today’s Rare Ride was inspired directly by this comment on the Question of the Day, where I asked which car brand you’d bring back from the dead if given the chance. Commenter Menlo suggested the oft-forgotten Talbot, and specifically a unique vehicle they used to make.
Now we can all learn about the Matra Rancho.
They do protests a little differently in France. A French supplier of brackets, bumper and steering column components to Renault and PSA Group might soon close down for good, so the shop’s unionized employees figured it would be best to turn its protest efforts up to “11.”
That apparently means destroying the equipment used to make those essential parts, as well as threatening lives by rigging the factory to explode.
So. Much. Passion.
France’s PSA Group appears to be getting serious about its re-entry into the U.S. market, naming former Nissan executive Larry Dominique as the head of its North American endeavors. That means the possibility of seeing new Peugeots or Citroëns on the road is no longer just a pipe dream.
However, PSA hasn’t yet made up its mind on which brands will debut in America. The Peugeot lineup makes the most sense, as it’s the French brand most American’s actually still remember, but Citroen has more eccentric models that could appeal to a specific subset of customers. The latter also has the DS sub-brand that might appeal to upscale buyers, even if it were to come in on its own.
The final decision won’t come until PSA has spent time and money performing loads of consumer research and logistical analysis.
What’s the selling price for a huge automaker’s entire European operations? $2 billion, apparently — one billion in cash and another billion in gained liabilities.
The Volkswagen Golf GTi may be what many consider the definitive “hot hatch,” and most enthusiasts credit it with popularizing the idea of a functional yet fun-to-drive and economical daily driver. From its roots have sprung countless pocket-sized performance variants, right up to today’s current Focus RS.
But the Volkswagen Golf was far from the world’s first hatchback. It wasn’t even close.
So where did the idea of a hinged-rear body panel begin? More than 40 years prior to the launch of the GTi, another innovative car introduced the world to the idea of the hatchback, among a few other new features. Are you surprised that it was French, after our Matra article last month?
Tesla founder Elon Musk wants to build a new European factory to satisfy growing demand on the continent, and France knows just the place he should do it.
French Energy Minister Segolene Royal reportedly pitched the idea of using the site of a soon-to-be-mothballed reactor to Musk, according to Reuters (via Automotive News Europe).
“He didn’t say no,” said Royal, who plans to follow-up the pitch by meeting with Tesla management.
Forget all about PSA Peugeot Citroen. It’s dead. Well, the name, anyway.
As part of its five-year corporate strategy, dubbed “Push to Pass,” the French automaker is rebranding itself as Groupe PSA and dropping hints of a tentative return to the U.S. market.
PSA’s sales and profitability are growing again thanks to a new product strategy and a bailout by the French government, but CEO Carlos Tavares wants to see more gains by branching out into new markets.
With the Saab brand now functionally dead, could the next quirky car du jour for individuality-signalling Americans come from France?
All eyes will be on PSA Peugeot Citroen on April 5 as France’s top automaker reveals its new international growth strategy, possibly heralding a return to the long-abandoned U.S. market.
The U.S. and Iran are being looked at as potential export markets, now that PSA’s “Back in the Race” restructuring program has improved the financial fortunes of the once-struggling automaker.
Like ripples in a pool of sulphur-rich oil, the impact from Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal keeps spreading.
In a cost-cutting measure designed to mitigate the growing financial damage caused by the scandal, Volkswagen is planning to cut 3,000 administration jobs in Germany, according to Reuters.
Agents from France’s Economy Ministry’s fraud office last week raided the headquarters of automaker Renault, as well as other sites in Guyancourt and Lardy, as part of a probe into heavily polluting diesel vehicles in the European country. Specifically, the agents were said to be looking into “possible engine-rigging to dodge pollution controls,” reported RFI.
Renault stated that investigators found “no evidence of a defeat device equipping Renault vehicles,” Reuters reported.
Renault is now the second automaker to be investigated on a deeper level after Volkswagen admitted to falsifying CO2 emissions data in Europe and implementing a “defeat device” in diesel vehicles worldwide.
Nissan and the French government struck a deal Friday to end a dispute over how much influence the state has over the carmaking alliance between the Japanese automaker and Renault, according to Renault.
The French government will cap its voting rights between 17.9 percent and 20 percent in non-strategic shareholder decisions, and will preclude “interference” by the government in Nissan by Renault. Renault, which is partially state-owned, is Nissan’s largest shareholder.
Earlier this year, France passed a law that would have given the government increased voting rights in the alliance, perhaps in an attempt to forge a stronger partnership between the two automakers.
Nissan has announced a proposal which would end Renault’s control of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and would curtail interferance by the French government.
When we last left off, Nissan was looking to gain a voice in the alliance it made in 1999 with Renault by increasing its stake while mitigating the stake shared between Renault and Paris. The Japanese automaker has held a 15 percent non-voting stake since alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn turned around its fortunes in the early 2000s, as French law prevents affiliates owning less than 40 percent of a French-led company from voting at the shareholders’ table.
Nissan has other ideas.
Toyota and PSA announced Tuesday that they would continue to build a van for European markets for light commercial and passenger duty and unveiled their newest Toyota Proace/Peugeot Traveller/Citroen SpaceTourer eggs.
The three vans, which look virtually identical short of their shades and faces, are all produced at PSA’s factory in Valenciennes, France.
While the Toyota version looks like one of those samurai crabs, it’ll likely never set foot in the U.S. and that’s a shame — commercial vans are the new hot thing for automakers, you know?
The battle between Nissan and the French government over the former’s voting stake in the Renault-Nissan Alliance continues on.
This month, after temporarily raising its stake to 19.7 percent, the French government cut back its stake to around 15 percent, which is still enough voting power under the Florange Law to block anything it didn’t like from Nissan and its allies during shareholder meetings.
However, second-in-command at Nissan, Chief Competitive Officer Hiroto Saikawa, expressed it wasn’t enough to go back to “the situation of seven months ago,” desiring “a better balance between the two companies,” a source told Reuters.
Instead, Nissan responded to the draw-down with a proposal establishing a “better-balanced” 25-percent/35-percent crossed shareholding, with Nissan finally having a say after 16 years of merely owning a piece of the company which rescued it from death back in 1999.
Investigators in France seized documents and office equipment from Volkswagen offices there in connection with its inquiry into the automaker’s admission that it cheated emissions tests.
The raid, which happened on Friday, wasn’t reported until Sunday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Investigators in Germany and Italy have already seized documents from Volkswagen’s respective headquarters in those countries relating to the scandal, which affects more than 11 million cars worldwide.
Officials in New South Wales, Australia are banning UberX cars from their roads for three months after failing to prosecute their drivers, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Authorities charged 24 drivers with violating the state’s taxi laws, saying the UberX car-sharing service couldn’t properly monitor and vet its 4,000 drivers in Sydney. Those charges were dropped due to “evidentiary issues” and the drivers avoided fines up to $70,000.
Now the state says it’ll ban private UberX cars from the road instead.
Cars were banned from the city center of Paris for seven hours Sunday as that city finds ways to manage its growing pollution and congestion problems, Time reported. A group called Paris sans Voiture organized the event in an effort to bring attention to climate policy.
Buses, ambulances and other public transportation were allowed on city streets during the ban, however private vehicles were forbidden from city streets in a broad swath of neighborhoods and tourist destinations including the Champs Élysées, Place Stalingrad, Place de la Republique, the Left Bank, the Place de la Bastille, the area around the Eiffel Tower and the Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne.
The city will be hosting a UN Climate Change conference in December.
French automaker PSA may be preparing to bring its luxury arm Citroen DS, to the United States within the next few years, Car and Driver reported.
Citing a source within the company, a U.S. market launch would be “necessary” for the brand’s viability and a decision on whether to bring the French luxury cars would be coming within the next few years.
Any return for the French automaker would be fraught with difficulty: no dealer network, no service and their cars are decidedly less-than-American sized. The automaker currently offers a DS3 premium minicar, a DS4 premium subcompact and a DS5 family wagon.
Renault has released their latest global pickup concept, the Alaskan, and by global they mean almost everywhere except Alaska.
Regardless, the Alaskan looks like a beefed-up version of the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup concept revealed in Detroit. Renault said the Alaskan is part of a new global push for their LCV business. We bet Mercedes will have something to say about this very soon.
Peugeot’s geometrically marvelous and electrically powered Fractal concept car will make its way to Frankfurt this year.
The 201-horsepower coupe is powered by two electric motors for each axle and has a 280-mile range, according to the automaker. Probably a wholly separate electric sub-station exists for its “9.1.2” surround sound system that sports woofers in the seats to acoustically relay information about what’s ahead like we’re all bats or something.
A heads up driver information system relays information via hologram, according to the automaker, and the rest is just the best.
Bugatti’s successor to the Veyron, the Chiron (are those pronounced similarly?) will reportedly cost $2.5 million, according to Car.
The hyper car, which was shown to prospective owners in France, will be a quad turbo, W-16 that produces more than 1,400 horsepower. According to the report, the car will make its debut in Geneva next year.
The price hike is roughly $200,000 over the Veyron, which started at $1.7 million and eventually ballooned to $2.3 million by the end of its production. While the price difference is enough for your own personal fleet of Volkswagen GTIs, how big does your yacht need to be anyway?
Confirming their June confirmation, Infiniti will bring a production-ready version of their compact Q30 to the International Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
The compact, which will be built in the United Kingdom, powered by the same 2.0-liter, turbo four that powers the Mercedes GLA and CLA under a joint agreement between Mercedes and Renault-Nissan.
The related compact crossover QX30 shouldn’t be far behind.
Recent sales growth in the EU hasn’t been kind to Opel as the group is forced to reduce hours at two German plants.
According to Automotive News, Opel will cut production of the Adam and Corsa at Eisenach and Insignia and Zafira Tourer at Ruesselsheim. The move is due to Opel’s exit from the Russian market and what the automaker calls “moderate” gains in the rest of Europe.
However, within the EU, overall sales for all automakers are up 8.2 percent in the first six month of this year and 14.6 percent in June, according to ACEA.
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- GrumpyOldMan "A manual transmission is offered, as is a single-clutch auto. "What is a single clutch auto?
- ToolGuy It is raining super-hard outside right now.
- Analoggrotto It's getting awful hard to tell these Mercedes apart from one another.
- Analoggrotto Ah the Fisher Price car for the uncoolest of uncool dad-bods.
- FreedMike If it were a GLI, it’d be a decent project car. But at the end of the day you have a base Jetta, and those weren’t all that great. Speaking of project VWs - when I was living at my old house a few years ago, one of my neighbors had an OG 1983 GTI sitting on his lawn. Lord, did I want to take that car home.