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Can the industry regulate itself? The mixed record of the "Plateforme de la Filière Automobile" in France
Submitted by Tommaso Pardi, CNRS-IDHES, GIS-Gerpisa on 22 avr. 2014 - 10:21
Type de publication:Conference Paper
Source:Gerpisa colloquium, Kyoto (2014)
At the peak of the financial crisis in 2009, the French government launched a series of measures to aid the automobile industry: scrapping schemes and green bonus/malus to sustain the demand and shift it towards French carmakers' supply; state's sponsored short working system to avoid mass redundancies and to increase work flexibility; and financial aids to protect the sector against bankruptcies and to sustain investments. The French government though has not intervened directly to change/improve the regulation of the sector whose competitiveness and general sustainability were seriously questioned by the impact of the crisis. This task has been mainly left to the industry: a platform to foster better coordination between Renault, PSA and the main French first-tier suppliers has been introduced in 2009 following the implementation of a code of “good practice” between customers and suppliers. Called the Plateforme de la Filière Automobile, it has been renovated in 2012 by the new elected Socialist government. Its main tasks are: to prepare and achieve the transformation of the sector; to share and promote amongst customers and suppliers the mid and long term strategic vision; and to assure the control of the application of the agreement of “good practice” within the sector.
In this paper we retrace the conditions that have brought the PFA into being, we analyse its governance and organization, and we assess its record up to 2014 against the objectives set up by the government in 2009. We will argue that the PFA has succeeded in preventing the disruption of the value chain at the peak of the first “financial” crisis in the 2009-2010 and in organizing its partial consolidation, but that it has failed in solving the underlying problems of the French automotive sector, and in particular the “relocation” trend which was at the roots of the crisis.
The paper is based on direct observation and participation, and on an array of documents and reports produced by PFA. It also exploits some statistical data in order to retrace the context of crisis and its main “endogenous” causes (the relocation trend from France towards Central Eastern European countries).