Strategic Sector Contract 2024-2027: Charting the Future of France’s Automotive Industry Towards Sustainability and Technological Sovereignty

In a decisive move to bolster France’s automotive sector in alignment with climate imperatives, the latest Strategic Sector Contract (CSF) for 2024-2027 was officially ratified on Monday, May 6, 2024. The agreement, undersigned by Luc CHATEL, president of the Sector Strategic Committee of the PFA, and various ministers including Bruno LE MAIRE, Catherine VAUTRIN, and Roland LESCURE, alongside Xavier BERTRAND representing the Hauts-de-France region, signifies a robust commitment to technological sovereignty and a sustainable industrial future.

Since 2018, the automotive industry has undergone a transformative shift, reorienting from traditional manufacturing to a service and solutions-centric approach, with a staunch focus on addressing the climate challenge. The fruit of this strategic pivot is evident in the sale of 100% electric vehicles, which have surged fivefold over the past five years, surpassing the initial ambitions outlined in the previous strategic sector contract.

According to industry data, the market share of electric vehicles has experienced a tenfold increase, reaching approximately 18%. This growth trajectory is set against a backdrop of multiple crises, yet the sector’s resilience is palpable in these statistics.

The quest for technological sovereignty has inspired unprecedented levels of investment within the French automotive sector, the likes of which have not been seen in half a century. In particular, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and subcontractors have been pivotal, with state-supported funds facilitating over two billion euros in industrial investments over a span of three years.

Furthermore, the commitment extends into the tens of billions of euros earmarked for investments that promise job creation and the advancement of new value chains, such as batteries, hydrogen, and low-carbon materials. The forward-looking strategic contract acknowledges the need to escalate efforts to align with the stringent directives of European regulations. The sale of electric vehicles, which saw 200,000 units in 2022 and 300,000 in 2023, is now projected to reach one million by 2030.

The CSF 2024-2027 is not merely a blueprint for industrial growth but a response to an existential imperative. The automotive industry is at the vanguard of the climate battle. This positioning necessitates a comprehensive strategy encompassing consumer behaviour, affordability of ecological mobility, job creation, skill development, and the support for employee retraining.

Expert analysis suggests that the transition from thermal engines to electric vehicles, while necessary, is insufficient to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreements. It is imperative to address broader aspects, such as enhancing sustainable mobility’s appeal and accessibility to the general population.

The integration of the circular economy within the automotive sector is also highlighted as a critical element in mitigating risks of dependency and reclaiming industrial sovereignty. The overarching theme of the CSF is unequivocal: the dual objectives of winning the climate and industrial battles are not merely choices but necessities.

In conclusion, France’s automotive industry stands on the precipice of a new era, defined by a concerted and strategic push towards sustainability and sovereignty. The CSF 2024-2027, with its ambitious goals and clear acknowledgement of the challenges ahead, serves as a testament to the sector’s commitment to playing a pivotal role in the global transition towards a greener economy.