French State, subcontractors and manufacturers in the face of the crisis (1981-1986)

Journée du Gerpisa n°: 
10 November, 2018 - 09:00 - 10:30

CCFA, 2 rue de Presbourg, 75008 Paris (métro et RER Charles de Gaulle Etoile)


Disponible sous peu - Available shortly

In the 1980s, French subcontractors faced the challenges of internationalization: sector crisis since 1980, Japanese competitors, productivity battle and selection effect among the most competitive among them. As order books shrink, the dependence of this subcontractor base on Renault and PSA is becoming increasingly acute. For the socialist government in power in 1981, public policies must be rethought in the light of this new economic situation and promote national solidarity in the sector. The Interministerial Committee for Industrial Restructuring (CIRI) is thus called upon to learn how to manage a crisis that spreads over time. How is the internationalization of the automotive sector redefining strategies and power relations between subcontractors, manufacturers and public authorities?

Among the hundreds of Renault and PSA suppliers, seventy of them, who were in difficulty in the 1980s, were in contact with the CIRI, on whose archives our study is based. This inter-ministerial committee, under the direction of the Treasury, works to revive the automotive sector by helping suppliers, through financial assistance and/or the search for a buyer. It thus raises the question of State intervention - particularly within the manufacturer-supplier relationship - and its responsibility. CIRI's files thus constitute a privileged observation point for subcontractors, in that they are presented in their relations with the State and manufacturers. It also makes it possible to get out of a history that takes as its starting point the great figures of manufacturers, in favour of an entry by the notion of the sector, an approach that is now at the heart of the Automotive Platform (PFA).

This work was awarded the Jean Panhard Prize for the best research paper (student category) on the automobile and mobility, awarded on 4 October 2018 as part of the Mondial de l'Automobile by the Automobile Club de France.

The historical study of the Interministerial Committee for Industrial Restructuring (CIRI), conducted under the direction of Professor Pascal Griset, is part of the work of the Committee for the Economic and Financial History of France.

We thank the CCFA for its welcome.

Access to the seminar is free and open, but we would be grateful if you could inform us of your attendance, either by registering on the page, or by e-mail to:, before 8/11/2018.

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