Home to 16 domestic and international carmakers, as well as 315 component manufacturers France is the second largest producer and fourth largest market in Europe.
Automotive sector in France
Home to 16 domestic and international carmakers, as well as 315 component manufacturers France is the
second largest producer and fourth largest market in Europe.
The vehicle production industry employs over 170,000 people, compared with 150,000 at the
beginning of the decade, and generates an average annual turnover of EUR88bn.
Latest estimates from the OICA have shown that autos production in France increased nearly
2.9% y-o-yto 2.29mn units in 2011.
Domestic groups PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault dominate the sector (road and sport),
nevertheless foreign carmakers such as Ford Motor, Volkswagen (VW) and Opel also have their
share of the market.
There are substantial production facilities in France. Both PSA Peugeot Citroen & Renault have
plants in 4 locations across France.
France is also home to major tier one suppliers such as Michelin (tyre manufacturer), Faurecia
(seat manufacturer) and Valeo (braking, thermal, and electrical systems).
Car ownership rates are relatively high, creating a large market for parts and accessories. The
market is now the fourth largest in the EU after Germany, the UK and Italy.
Many manufacturers cite the 'quality of the automotive infrastructure' as a reason for their
presence in the country.
Manufacturers have shown significant development of eco-friendly technology.
France rolled out a car-sharing plan in September 2011 in Paris called Autolib, which will see
some 3,000 EVs being made available to the public.
The French Motorsport sector is worth an approximate EUR1.5 billion, consistently less than the
UK but significant nonetheless. Rallying dominates the sector, followed by single seater racing,
Offroad and Sportcar racing. France is in negotiations to hold a Formula 1 race again.
ξ Electric vehicle (EV) segment and Hybric EV – It ranges from industrial research to
infrastructure development and provision of subsidies for electric car purchase.
ξ The Government announced on 25/07/12 a plan to support the automotive industry which
focuses on incentives for the purchase of clean vehicles.
ξ New product lines could boost demand for French cars in export markets.
ξ The future for small cars looks bright as consumer preferences shift following the
implementation of an eco-tax.
Latest export opportunities – Automotive
Latest export opportunities – France
Getting into the market
France is often perceived as a difficult market to penetrate although a British company with
innovative and competitive products/services will stand good chance of winning business in
It is important to note that the journey from engaging with a company to signing a contract can
be very lengthy and British companies should be prepared to spend time building up the
relationship and to demonstrate persistence in proposing their offer.
Although a lot of business people would speak some English, the preferred language for doing
business will be French.
UKTI can assist with facilitating introduction to the right contacts.
More about doing business in France
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Audrey Berté, Senior Trade Advisor, British Embassy Paris Tel: +33 (0)1 44 51 33 29 or
ξ Daniel Ashley, Trade Advisor, British Embassy Paris Tel: +33 (0)1 44 51 31 82 or email:
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events – Automotive
Mondial de l’automobile
29 Sep-14 Oct 2012, Paris, every two years
October 2013, Paris, every two years
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters