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3/19/2019 Philippe B.

de l'Arc - History of the Automobile - 2013



From the automotive industry

In 1990, the fleet of private vehicles was 23 010 000 (76.5% of motorized households), with
average mileage of 11 900 km in gasoline and 21 300 in diesel (17.4% of fleet), with an average
of 69 500 km on the meter and an average age of 5.9 years
2 030 000 new cars are sold including 37.5% of Diesel, a VN / park rate of 8.8%
In 2011, the park is 31 300 000 vehicles (83.5% of motorized households) , with average
mileage of 8,700 km in gasoline and 15,800 in diesel (56.2% of fleet), with an average of
107,730 km and an average age of 8 years
2,204,229 new cars are sold including 72, 4% of Diesel, a VN / park rate of 7.0%

So, in almost 25 years, new car sales have made very little progress, and this is reflected in the
evolution of mileage and the average age of the park.

However, the park has increased (+ 36%) and the percentage of motorized households also (+
The automobile is therefore, to date, the only "technical" product that has made no progress in
broadening its distribution, compared to the distribution of computer and multimedia products:
200,000 mobile phones in France. 1990, 25 million sold in 2011, some LCD screens in 1990, 4
million in 2011, 100,000 connected to the Internet in 1996, 44 million in 2011 ...
At constant VN rate / park, which would still be strange for a product as "general public" as the
automobile, it is well 2,750 00 cars which should be registered in France.
We could go further, as it was 30 years ago, in 1982, when 2,054,000 cars were registered for a
fleet of 19,750,000 cars (VN / fleet rate of 10.4%).

The reason ?

The price, of course.

The problem is not the realized margin, which one would like to increase artificially in the name
of competitiveness, which would not allow to lower prices but only to increase unit profits, but
the quantity sold, or rather not sold. lack of consumers with sufficient purchasing power.
The incomprehensible increase in vehicle performance also explains the current costs.
Indeed, the expected performance has not changed in 25 years, simply: same Code of the Road,
same speeds imposed therefore, same roads, same drivers ...
In 1990, a Peugeot 106 of 50 ch was very largely sufficient in city, a Peugeot 405 70 hp largely
on the road.
In 2012, we need a Peugeot 107 68 hp in the city and a Peugeot 407 116 hp very largely on the

This confirms the evolution of the "average car".

1990: 1477 cc, 75 hp, 977 kg, top speed 154 km / h, sold the equivalent of 15 SMIC
2011: 1554 cm3, 106 hp, mass 1266 kg, top speed 181 km / h, 15.5 SMIC
A do we really need cars that run at 180 km / h in "normal" use?
Of course, if we refer to automotive publications, 90 bhp seem to be the minimum in town for
these inveterate diesel drivers ...

What is the "best" car 2013, according to Auto Plus (8/4/2013):

Minicitadine: Volkswagen Up! 1.0, 60 hp, 150 km / h, 13,750 euros; city: Peugeot 208 1.2
VTI, 82 hp, 162 km / h, 15,500 euros; compact sedan: Volkswagen Golf 1.2 TSI, 105 hp,
179 km / h, 22,700 euros; urban minivan: Kia Venga 1.4 IDRC, 90 hp, 160 km / h, 19,200 1/3
3/19/2019 Philippe B. de l'Arc - History of the Automobile - 2013

euros; minivan: Peugeot 5008 1.6 HDi, 115 hp, 173 km / h, 27,700 euros; classy car:
Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TDI, 143 hp, 208 km / h, 35 180 euros

Finally, the over-equipment imposed by "innovations" rather muddy leaves doubtful.

Any good technician knows that the power limit to "pass" on a traction is of the order of 150
horses, which explains the multiplication of "aids" to the driving to control vehicles become
more than limits.
Moreover, they only shift the problem of "too fast", because leaving the road at 100 km / h is not
safer than going out at 80 km / h (laws of physics).
As for the fable of the "reserve of power" ...

It is also surprising, in these times turned to the ecology, of the generalization of air
conditioning, expensive in weight, in energy and using gases of more in more toxic.

Besides, why are French manufacturers presenting themselves as the leaders of Diesel?
Rudolph Diesel was German, the first mass-produced diesel car was the Mercedes-Benz
260 D from 1936, the first Diesel Turbo the Mrecedes 300 SD 1977, the first Diesel direct
injection Fiat Croma TD id 1986, the first diesel common rail the Alfa Romeo 156 JTD
1996 ...

The technical heaviness of diesel (a counter-environmental sense), imposed by a powerful

lobbying (37.5% of new cars in 1990, 72.4% in 2012) generates incompressible purchase and
operating costs.
However, it is the most expensive technology to implement, the most polluting and the most
expensive in terms of importing this fuel, our refineries dating back to the 1970s when Diesel
accounted for only 5% of sales?
Because, finally, when one speaks about pollution due to the emissions of particles, fine, which
is the only engine concerned?
As to associate this technology with an electric motor to make hybrids, this is more of a gag
than any technical demonstration.
It is to this insane stubbornness that we owe to the Japanese only to propose hybrids at a
reasonable price.

And the electric vehicle?

What about the ridiculous Renault Zoe of 86 hp?

It would be enough to take a blank page, establish the specifications of a normal electric vehicle,
or resume studies in the 90s (the needs have not changed).
What we are being offered today is nothing less than uncomplicated in terms of on-board power,
weight and maximum performance.
This is also why the ruinous lithium batteries are hard to ensure the autonomy of a Rocaboy in
1980, simply rolling "lead", for example.
This is not to mention the grotesque margins taken on the said vehicles, margins paid by all,
including motorists, via the so-called ecological aids that fall directly into the pocket of
The example of the Peugeot Ion (Mitusbishi MieV sold off in the summer of 2012) speaks
volumes about this subject.

In conclusion

So, there are builders who are commercially incompetent, incompetent technically supported by
financial analysts (economists?) Ignorant of the very foundations of the economy, and
uneducated journalists who dream only of Diesel and radar detectors. 2/3
3/19/2019 Philippe B. de l'Arc - History of the Automobile - 2013

The proofreading of Henri Ford or André Citroën would undoubtedly bring them some pertinent

In 1948, in the presentation of the Citroën 2 CV, we read in Science et Vie: " the price of
raw materials ..., the rise in gasoline, the rise in maintenance costs. and the progress of
taxes, everything militates in favor of the light car, but solid, which consumes little and
rolls cheaply. "
We are far today, especially if we look at what uneducated journalists present as a" Mini ",
a" Fiat 500 ", a" Renaut 5 Turbo "...

The goal is not to win back an emerging country, speaking of automobile, that is to say, France
as it is today, as are its consumers today.
To sell, one needs a product, adapted to its environment and to its use, first, and, above all,
adapted to the financial means of the potential buyers.
Unless it is less to sell cars than to achieve the most comfortable margins possible, even if they
are the most artificial possible.
Regardless of the aid paid to builders, they will not be used by anyone, except shareholders, if
they do not realize a real market study as it is today.
It is high time to design cars not for those who buy them, fewer and fewer, but for those who
want to buy them, potential customers otherwise wider.
It is high time to wake up all this little world beneath sleep on laurels they braided well! "

Philippe Bourtsin, 04 2013

Courier addressed to the Ministry of Productive Recovery on the reality of what the automotive
industry is today: unsuited to its market, despite its considerable potential, so without a future if it
does not radically change direction.
Left unanswered ... 3/3