Automotive Industry News

The car sector has long been a major economic engine in France. Indeed, owing to renowned companies like Citroën, Peugeot, and Renault, France is one of the pioneering nations in the automotive business.


French companies specializing in vehicle construction provide jobs to more than 440,000 people in France. In 2014, more than 1.8 million light vehicles were produced at the production and assembly sites of groups such as Peugeot Citroën and Renault. 

This figure represents 6.7% of the international production of light vehicles (cars with Total Weight Allowed in Loading less than 3.5 tons). In France, 9% or more of the workforce have a career directly or indirectly linked to the automotive industry. French brands are among the most popular internationally.

A sector divided into two

The automotive sector can be classified into 2 main categories, namely:

Automobile manufacturers

The main activity of this industry is the production of vehicles. Some have the right human resources and technologies to intervene at all stages of car manufacturing: design, assembly, and marketing. Others, for lack of resources or equipment, can only be described as assemblers. 

These companies have only factories that allow the assembly of the various parts useful for creating a vehicle. The design and manufacture of all parts are entrusted to industrial firms called "OEM".

Companies specializing in vehicle construction are generally global companies. Small firms often struggle to cope with tough competition from giants. As a result, they tend to disappear. Many car manufacturers are of American and European origin. However, firms in the Far East, particularly those in Japan and South Korea, also occupy a significant place in the global automotive market.

There are several categories of vehicle manufacturers. First, some generalists produce a wide range of cars, including urban dwellers, people carriers, SUVs, family vehicles, electric vehicles, etc. The main targets of manufacturers in this category are middle-class people. Their goal is to sell numerous cars.

Some manufacturers focus on a specific customer class: VIPs. These signs belong to the "luxury" category. They produce very high-end models of cars. Other categories of companies in the automotive industry are Premiums and low-cost manufacturers (targeting emerging countries). 

However, some manufacturers are characterized by their low productivity. They produce a single class of cars and sometimes launch fewer than 5,000 models a year. These are produced semi-artisan or artisanal.

Equipment for vehicles

In France, the number of OEMs reaches over 300 companies. In this category, there are multinationals, but also some specialized SMEs. Firms in this class spend a large budget on their R&D department. The aim is to offer a high level of safety and comfort to passengers. The search for ecological solutions is also a concern for companies in the sector.

OEMs offer a variety of parts, such as the battery, fuel filter, brakes, shock absorbers, tires, air conditioning, windshield wipers, passenger compartment filter, starter, oil radiator, exhaust pot, candles, catalyst, various electrical equipment, and all other parts necessary for the proper functioning of a vehicle. Some like the dashboard can be manufactured by machining.

Automotive trades

Professionals working for large automotive companies hold positions at different levels of vehicle manufacturing: design, manufacture, distribution, after-sales service, etc. This industrial sector presents a wide range of trades to the interested parties.

A car manufacturer, to be productive, to ensure its competitiveness, to develop its activities, but also to meet environmental and societal challenges, must have a staff made up of competent people. The level of education required to enter this course varies from CAP to an engineering degree.

Specialists in various fields, such as production, industrial design, research and development, ICT (information and communication technologies), robotization are required. Car manufacturers also have departments responsible for activities such as management and administration, trade, procurement, logistics, etc.

Some of the professions with the most opportunities are Mechanical Engineer, Mechanical Designer, and Industrial Designer.

Companies in the French automotive industry

Among the reference companies when talking about the French automotive industry are:

  • The PSA group (Peugeot public limited company) currently occupies second place in the ranking of the largest European companies in its sector. Its objective is to offer models of advanced vehicles that offer unparalleled privileges to users. To achieve this, it has a staff with high-level know-how and sophisticated technologies. Excellence and innovation are at the center of the group’s concerns. This bodybuilder is responsible for the operation of car parks, such as Citroën, Peugeot, Vauxhall, Opel, and DS Automobiles. In France, in 2016, it occupies the place of the uncontested leader of its market, with a market share of 27.74%. In 2017, the group marketed 3,630,000 cars.
  • The Renault group was officially created on 25 February 1899 by Fernand and Marcel Renault. This French manufacturer, which is now linked to the Japanese giants Nissan and Mitsubishi, is, in the first half of 2017, the first international group in the automotive industry. Its factories and subsidiaries are spread over several countries. In 2016, this French giant sold 3.18 million cars, under different brands (Renault Samsung Motors, Dacia, and Renault).
  • The automotive manufacturer Valeo has an important reputation in France. It works in partnership with all manufacturers. Thanks to the expertise of its team, the brand provides its partners with innovative auto equipment and systems that help reduce CO2 emissions. The brand’s products are conducive to intuitive driving. This group is also recognized for the quality of its spare parts. According to 2017 statistics, it employs 111,600 employees. Its products are distributed in more than 184 countries. It has 55 R&D centers.
  • The turnover of the company Faurecia, estimated at 20 692 billion euros in 2015, attests to its importance in the market. Faurecia is a French group specializing in the engineering and production of automotive equipment. His clients are vehicle manufacturers. The company is responsible for the development, manufacture, and marketing of products such as interior systems, seats, and emission control technologies (exhausts).

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