France and Germany Vow to Support Auto Industry

By Brendan Moore

11.24.2008

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said earlier today during a joint meeting with the German Chancellor that France and Germany, the two largest economies in Europe, would not let their auto manufacturers go down. Sarkozy stated that the French government would do everything it could to support the industry during their time of greatest need. The economic recession and credit meltdown has affected the auto industry in Europe, as it has in the US.

He said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were together as one in their wish to defend their respective auto industries, through innovation, research or technology — not protectionist measures.

Merkel stated “it would be disastrous” if there were not a European response to the crisis.

Merkel and Sarkozy said they were in agreement that a coordinated effort would be best, even if actions specific to each country were different.

“We want to react with speed and with force to relaunch the economy” in a manner appropriate to each country but coordinated, Sarkozy commented at a joint Paris news conference with Merkel by his side after their talks.

“What is sure is that we won’t let the auto industry down,” Sarkozy declared.

Sarkozy noted that the auto industry, including the employees at dealerships and parts suppliers, employs 10% of France’s working population.

“The will to help European industry, and notably the automobile sector, is total,” said the French president.

France and Germany’s show of solidarity is in somewhat marked contrast to the minor friction reported previously between Paris and Berlin. Germany has been reluctant to embrace the level of funding France wants for a economic stimulus program, and Sarkozy made a wry offhand comment about that reluctance last week, saying that “while France is working, Germany is thinking”.

But today Sarkozy was all smiles and solicititous towards Merkel, stating that France had a more centralized government that made this sort of decision-making easy, while federal Germany needed much more time for consultations.

‘There is more convergence than divergence, much more,’ he said, commenting on Franco-German coordination, in response to a reporter’s question.

Both Merkel and Sarkozy said that they were not interested in a plan similar to one leaked in the British press that would cut taxes on many items in the UK, including new-car purchases for a prescribed time period.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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3 Comments

  1. At least someone in the world cares about their auto manufacturing, maybe America should pay attention.

  2. The Living End, I agree with you.

    A guy nicknamed Tealfish on Allpar forums, mentionned this link http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=29586#continueA titled “Who killed Detroit?” although then I’m not completely agree with that, the text got some interesting points. Perhaps the old proverb “with friends like that who need enemies?” could apply with the case of the auto industry.

    If the situation goes much worse in France compared to today, could we imagine an merger….errr I mean “alliance” between Renault and Peugeot-Citroen like Paul Betts from the Financial Times once suggested in sept 2007? http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto091820071414153929

  3. “What is sure is that we won’t let the auto industry down,” Sarkozy declared.

    Almost identical to what our President says, right?

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