Luca De Meo (Renault) and Carlos Tavares (Stellantis) see France as an "autophobic" country

Luca De Meo (Renault) and Carlos Tavares (Stellantis) see France as an “autophobic” country

During a joint interview with Le Parisien, the bosses of Renault and Stellantis note with regret and concern the negative image of the car in France. They want to create a “freedom of movement forum”.

In two weeks, the Motor Show will open its doors in Paris, one of the cities in Europe where the presence of cars is less and less appreciated. In a crossover interview published by the parisianCarlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis (ex-PSA) and Luca De Meo, CEO of Renault, lament the negative image of cars and the impact on “freedom of movement”.

“Why do we have so many French people in love with their cars in a fundamentally autophobic country?” asks Carlos Tavares.

“I worked in Germany, at Volkswagen and Audi. There is a pride in the automotive industry there that does not exist in France,” adds Luca De Meo, who points out that the car no longer has its place in the city.

“I hate” the car, for us it is “game over”

According to the two leaders, cities designed centuries or decades ago are not adapted to the explosion of urban mobility.

“Some people, because driving today is not easy at all, because in certain cities the population density is unprecedented, they have started to dislike cars. I have always said that if people started to hate our product, it was ‘ play'”. over'”, regrets the Renault boss.

“We are in contact with an infrastructure that is one of the oldest in the world. In this way [Il se tourne vers la route, face au château de Versailles où a eu lieu cette rencontre, NDLR] it was built perhaps 450 years ago, adds Luca De Meo. “Running clean cars is like playing a Netflix movie on a cell phone from twenty years ago.”

Indeed, now for the manufacturers, it is about proposing electric vehicles to replace the thermal models. Last June, the European Parliament approved the Brussels proposal to reduce emissions from new cars to zero from 2035. Only electric vehicles will be authorized for sale, unlike thermal cars and hybrids. But for leaders, these decisions do not take realities into account.

“It is a pity, however, to have taken the issue the other way around, starting with car manufacturing, and leaving aside the issue of energy and infrastructure”, declares Carlos Tavares.

A forum for “freedom of movement”

The question is also based on the entrance ticket to pay for an electric vehicle. To afford one, prices range between 20,000 euros for a small city car and almost 100,000 euros for a street car. Rates that most motorists cannot afford.

“If electric vehicles are expensive, they will be elitist, the middle class will not be able to access them and we will have a problem of social stability. By the way, if we don’t get enough volumes, we won’t have an impact on the planet,” says Carlos Tavares.

“We are still in a phase of technological advancement, during which, by definition, new products are expensive.” (…) Today, the privileged few who have the means, a garage and a terminal at home can afford an electric vehicle. It is politically incorrect to say it like that”, adds Luca De Meo, promising to “democratize the electric vehicle”.

Will the electric car for everyone find its place in urban traffic? It is a question raised by Carlos Tavares.

“When we only have clean, safe and affordable cars, will we continue to put pressure on the car?”

“We are here to propose solutions, as long as society accepts that individual, family and professional freedom of movement continues to be a fundamental axis of our ‘lifestyle’. In order to discuss this issue, we are going to create a forum on freedom of movement”, announced the head of Stellantis.

“If you want, I’ll take part”, offers Luca De Meo. “Of course I invite you!” replied Carlos Tavares.

on Monday, during the presentation press conference of the draft budget for 2023, Bruno Le Maire mentioned the creation of a ecological bond reserved for electric cars produced in Europe. The Minister of Economy has outlined two ways of reflection to guide the bonus: “vehicles produced in European territory or that strictly comply with the new environmental regulations”.

Pascual Samama

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