Why the electric car is also a relocation lever

Why the electric car is also a relocation lever

Economist specializing in the automotive industry, Bernard Jullien will take part in a round table at the Electric Road forum organized from June 29 to July 1. The theme: make the electrification of mobility an opportunity for employees and automotive territories. He explains to us why the ban on internal combustion engines is not necessarily the catastrophe predicted for the European car industry.

Challenges – Following the announcement of the ban on sales of thermal cars in 2035, we heard Luc Chatel, president of the Automotive Platform (PFA), make alarmist remarks about employment in the European automotive industry. Do you share his concern?

Bernard Julien – It is true that the labor content of an electric car is significantly lower than its petrol or diesel equivalent. France has already lost a lot on car assembly, but not on powertrain manufacturing. With the switch to electric, there is therefore a lot to lose. The FNA (National Automobile Federation, Editor’s note) and the CFDT insist on the significant impact of dedicated seling, which could result in the loss of 70,000 jobs. Above all, some very specialized establishments will be difficult to convert. The PFA estimates that at equal volume (two million cars produced in France), the loss would be 50,000 jobs out of 200,000.

But there are two ways to modulate the problem. Continuing to lose volume is an assumption. So, we will scratch on wages, relocation will continue. French industry risks becoming marginal, as is the case in Italy. Luc Chatel does not see how to thwart this temptation to relocate. France benefited from an external surplus on the niche of electric cars, when only the Zoé existed. Now it is in deficit: the Twingo and the Stellantis electrics are imported. However, the situation is not immutable: this will change with Renault, thanks to the Mégane and R5 produced in France. On the other hand, Stellantis does not play the game: apart from probable C5 or 3008 electric, we do not see how there could be relocation.

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