French solutions for tomorrow's cars at Frankfurt show

14th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

French auto makers PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault will present their solutions for tomorrow's cars -- electric or hybrid -- at the Frankfurt Motor Show which opens Thursday as both are being hit hard by the economic crisis.

Paris - French auto makers PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault will present their solutions for tomorrow's cars -- electric or hybrid -- at the Frankfurt Motor Show which opens Thursday as both are being hit hard by the economic crisis.

Renault which has firmly set its eyes on the electric car is to introduce four electric prototypes in Frankfurt that will cover the range from small urban to commercial vehicles.

Renault chief Carlos Ghosn has made Zero Emissions the group's top strategy in the ongoing battle against CO2 emissions, along with partner Nissan.

The maker with the lozenge shaped logo believes that by 2020 electric cars will make up more than 10 percent of the market and hopes to present its electric cars by 2011 and be ready for the market the following year.

Rival PSA Peugeot Citroen equally aims to impress the general public with its environment-friendly cars after new company head Philippe Varin, who took over in June, made them one of his priorities.

Peugeot will present two diesel hybrid prototypes based on its 3008 crossover and RCZ coupe. But in Frankfurt it will also display the iOn, its future electric car which was developed in cooperation with Mitsubishi Motors to be launched at the end of next year.

PSA thus aims to offer a wide range of environment-friendly solutions that include diesel hybrids in 2011 and Peugeot and Citroen electric cars next year.

Renault and PSA "continue to sell the same cars as before but will whet the public's appetite", said Global Insight analyst Carlos da Silva.

"For the people, Peugeot and Renault go electric (...) Things are taking on contour."

In fact, the companies' absence from the "green" car market would be "a huge setback for the brand image", da Silva added, "as you can feel that this is rather important" for clients "even though it does not necessarily show in what they do".

Bertrand Rakoto, RL Polk car analyst, agrees. "Electric cars have a positive image," he said but cautioned that their distribution would be rather limited in the next five years.

In 2008, practically no electric cars were registered in France and hybrids had a share of just 0.4 percent of new cars sold.

In Frankfurt, Renault hopes that its ambition to offer a full line-up of electric cars will translate into a new love affair with the public after its sales plunged 24 percent and net losses totalled 2.7 billion euros (3.9 billion dollars) in the first half-year.

While Ghosn said in an interview with Le Figaro last week that in "many markets, we're more or less at the end of the recession", he does not expect better figures in Europe to come in before late 2010 or early 2011.

PSA on the other hand was in the red in 2008 and again reported a net loss of 962 million euros in the first half of 2009.

But the group continues to renew and develop its product line-up, with Peugeot about to market its new compact 5008 people carrier and RCZ sports coupe.

Citroen will display its big-hitter redesigned C3 supermini and the DS3, the first of new DS models which is to show that the make with the chevron shaped logo aims to be upwardly mobile.

AFP / Expatica

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