Wednesday, 19 February 2014

On BBC World Business Report, Talking about Peugeot and National Champions

Yes, that's right, I stayed up until 9pm UK time to appear on BBC World's evening Business Report programme discusing the bailout of the French car company Peugeot by its Chinese joint venture partner DongFeng and the French Government.

National champions can work in a number of strategic or sensitive sectors like Nuclear (think Areva) and Aerospace and Defence (e.g. EADS), but there is little rationale for promoting national champions in a globally competitive industry like Autos, with the Japanese, South Koreans and Germans battling for global supremacy, not to mention the resurgence of the Big 3 US carmakers too. 

If you have to buy a car company, I am keen on the South Korean success story that is Hyundai (look at their amazing growth of market share in the US) and also BMW in Germany (look at the strength of their ancillary brands like Mini, and also their push into fully electric vehicles).  

As for Peugeot, it will be a long road ahead through heavy restructuring to final recovery, and one that will inevitably involve reducing production capacity yet further in France. After all, they already produce the bulk of their small cars outside the Hexagon as it is...

Edmund

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