There is no doubt that France is the most expensive in the EU to run a car. This is a hangover from the vagaries of state owned manufacturing companies. Renault distribute Continental Tyres and PSA (Peugeot/Citroën) Michelin. Spare parts are prohibitively expensive for the same reason.
Have a read of this - I understand the report still has not been issued, rather like Chilcott!:-
"Expensive Car Spares
The maintenance and repair of a car is more expensive for French motorists than for their European counterparts. During the last ten years there has been a price increase for car spares of around 130% according to the French Competition Authority (CA). This has come about because of the tight grip that the French car constructors (Renault and PSA) have on the market and their not allowing competition. This statement is contested by French car industry professionals.
Page 3 “Ouest France” Saturday, 14th April
The cost of car repairs, the finger is raised.
In the “Competition Authority’s” (CA) draft report published 11th April, blame for high prices in the market of repairs and maintenance of cars was laid squarely at the gate of the French car constructors’ cartel.
Both repair and maintenance of cars are expensive for French motorists, more expensive than in other European countries. The CA says the costs are too high with a 128% increase in 10 years (2000-2010) and in particular the increase in cost of spare parts.
According to the CA the majority of those garages that carry out repairs are concessionaires of the major constructors and there are not enough independent garages.** For the “After-sales”(la fabrication) and the distribution of parts like wings, bonnets and wing mirrors account for 53% of the value of the market (45% in volume and €250 million)
French car constructors block any change
In 2007 the European parliament adopted a directive that opened up the market for the manufacture and sale of car parts to competition. The member States were then given five years to comply. This directive has been completely ignored by the French authorities concerned but has been implemented in Italy, Spain, Belgium and other countries (inc. UK).
However the Committee of French automobiles constructors (CCFA), the Chamber of the International Syndicate of Automobiles and motorbikes (CSIAM) and the National Council of Automobile Professionals (CNPA) have prepared a joint reply in opposition to the implementation of the EEC directive to the effect that “there is already too much (terrible) competition between the constructors in the sector of after-sale”. The spokesman for the CCFA, François ROUDIER, stated that with the end of their “dominant position would in fact mean the legalisation of the manufacture of counterfeit parts”.
The Competition Authority (CA) sees that the opening up of the market will have other consequences including “the lowering of prices for motorists. In counter argument François ROUDIER stated that(visible) parts are covered by copyright and that “only the constructors are qualified and approved to offer the required precision and the safety quality of these products. Also those countries where it is legal to produce copies of parts do not have a large motor car industry.”
The three organisations CCFA, CSIAM and CNPA state that the opening up of the market for car spares as a whole (body parts and spares) “will be a terrible blow for the competitiveness of the French car industry, the activity of their sub-contractors and employment in automobile sector”. They estimate that there will be a loss of 220,000 jobs in the different sub-sectors - construction, equipment, accessories and car body repairs (8% of the manufacturing and energy employment).
The professionals of the automobile network have just until the 24th of May to make their comments on the report before the final version of the report of the CA is published in July, 2012.
**I have been quoted (TV) as saying that the lack of independent garages is a direct result of Renault & PSA’s keeping parts prices high whilst offering low margins to the independents via their concessionaires. As such the independents have to keep their labour rate higher to compensate for this. AM
Note: The CA’s report is due out 12/07/2012. I propose that a PDMC press release be issued 4 weeks before but embargoed until 11/07. This will allow time for the French auto monthlies to use the release. The car spares issue has been widely publicised during the last week with various comments on French national TV."
New car prices are far too high and this drags up second hand prices. I have a number of old cars one of which needed a set of 6 plugs. I was quoted 144€ but bought them in the UK for 54€. Tyres are amost the same - generally you can buy them for around a third less in the UK.
However we just bought a Renault with the wonderful Alliance engine (Nissan designed with chain drive cams so no belts to break or be changed at outrageous prices) in the UK for 8,500€. My wife now refuses to run a diesel and I agree, so the car will be fitted with a factory conversion for E85 (bioethanol). The change will be reported to Swansea - you must by law - and a new V5C will be issued with the fuel section being changed to Flexfuel, as opposed to petrol. When the car is re-registered here there will be a document charge but no cost based on its CV rating - Carte Grises are free for cars that run on E85.
The other great benefit is that the price for E85 locally is 64 cents per litre. Brussels has finally "persuaded France that diesel prices must rise to be in line with diesel.
Oh the car cost 3,000€ less than prices being asked for here. The overall cost of bringing it back and getting a CT will be 400€.
I suspect that there will be new interest shown in E85 bioethanol as I was recently asked to liaise between a Brazilian company that puts up micro E85 production plants, our local university (Nantes) and the French Transport and Agricultural ministries. I suspect that this has been brought about by the ending of "Set-aside" for farmers who have received untold billions since the start of "Set-aside".
If anyone would like to be bored further about E85, we have a document on file that makes interesting reading!