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The Paris Motor Show facing headwinds

After a break of four years, the Mondial de Paris will return to Porte de Versailles in the fall of 2022, in a particularly uncertain context. Like all other major motor shows, this biennial event, which will be held from October 17 to 23 and whose previous edition in 2020 was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is in the grip of a crisis of identify. Added to this are the deleterious consequences of the idling of manufacturers, faced with shortages in the supply of semiconductors and disruptions linked to the war in Ukraine.

The extent of this malaise, both structural and cyclical, can be read through the list of absentees. The phenomenon spares no living room, but this time the defections concern leading manufacturers, such as the world number one Toyota, yet very present in France with its factory in Valenciennes (North), but also the Volkswagen group, BMW Or even Ford. A French brand as emblematic as Citroën will not be part of the party either, as will Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki, Nissan and Ferrari. “We are aware that we are going against the tide,” admits Serge Gachot, director of the Mondial de Paris.

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Why so many absent? “With the semiconductor crisis, we have never made so few cars and since they are selling for more, we are making a good living. Under these conditions, it is not very exciting to exhibit vehicles whose order book is overflowing and for which the waiting time can be long,” we explain bluntly at Ford.

Gigantism is no longer appropriate

Citroën, like Toyota, also consider that the return on investment of such an event is not satisfactory, and prefer to favor “innovative means of communication”. Tesla has not yet decided the question of his arrival. Too expensive, too generalist (manufacturers shun traditional shows, but run Tech shows or vintage events like Retromobile or the Goodwood Festival), the Paris Motor Show would be outdated. “This physical relationship to the car that he offers has aged. We have to find something else.” considers a builder who has decided to ignore the event.

In order to establish a more concrete contact between the automobile and the public, around a hundred vehicles, most of them electrified, will be offered for testing.

The organizers of the Paris show have nevertheless tried to correct the situation in the face of criticism. Its duration was reduced from thirteen to seven days and the total area occupied Porte de Versailles limited to 60,000 square meters, against 100,000 previously. Gigantism is no longer acceptable. “Stands must not exceed 1,500 square meters and the rental price [185 euros au mètre carré] increased by only 10 euros in four years”, says Serge Gachot. Including all the costs (assembly, fittings, etc.), a stand should cost between 800,000 and 1 million euros. An assessment that does not include water, electricity or Wi-Fi bills from the operator Viparis, the operator of the Exhibition Center, which exhibitors regularly complained about.

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