Strategic Audit on France Transportation Industry Introduction

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French Business Context

Strategic Audit on France Transportation Industry

France is very competitive in the transportation industry with companies pursuing faster and more efficient ways of traveling and commuting. France is known to have a well-used rail system and is also a leader in the aerospace design and technology. This paper will focus mainly on the automobile industry in France with examples from two French car companies, Renault S.A. and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

In France, there are two main French car manufacturers: Renault S. A. and PSA Peugeot Citroen and both companies sell nationally and internationally. In 2010, French manufacturers produced over 6.3 million cars globally and over 1.9 million cars in France. As of 2010, Peugeot and Renault ranked eighth and tenth respectively for the most sold cars globally. Now, because of its alliance with Nissan, Renault ranks as the world’s fifth largest car producer ( In France, 83.5% of all residences have at least one car and out of the vehicles sold in France in 2010, 28.6% were Renaults and 38.2% were Peugeot. (CCFA)
The goal of this paper is to inform the reader about the Automobile Industry in France and how it is doing compared to the rest of the world. It will also show how Renault and Peugeot are doing and where the two companies can improve.
Renault S. A.

Renault is an automotive manufacturing company that is headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France and was founded in 1898. Renault does many activities in the car business including manufacturing, trading, repairing, and maintenance. The company produces passenger cars, tractors, farm machinery, and construction equipment. Renault shares a CEO with Nissan, its alliance partner, and his name is Carols Ghosn. The company has a total of 127, 086 employees around the world. At the end of 2012, Renault had made $41 million in revenue. (Yahoo! Finance)

Renault is currently in the midst of a six-year period strategy where their main goal is to ensure growth for the company and raise sales to over 3 million vehicles at the end of 2013. To achieve this, the company outlines a plan to pursue innovation, reinforce the brand image, create a more numerous product base, reduce costs for the company, and pursue growth internationally. (Vautier)
In 1999, Renault bought into an alliance with Nissan, a car manufacturer based out of Japan. This alliance was to both companies’ advantages; for Renault, Nissan has helped to further innovation with model designs and create a bigger market share globally for both companies. This was a main strategy for Renault in the past two decades for growth and production.
As stated above, Renault has 28.6% of the French market for all vehicles and, in 2012, Renault sold 2.6 million vehicles world-wide. Renault has factories and plants in 118 countries. (Vautier)
PSA Peugeot Citroen

Peugeot is an automotive manufacturing company that is based in Paris, France and was founded in 1810. The company engages in many activities such as design, manufacturing, and sales. The CEO of Peugeot is Phillippe Varin and at the end of 2012, Peugeot had a total revenue of $55.4 million.

Peugeot’s market strategy has four aims: keep up with innovation, pursue international recognition, create the best operating efficiency in the industry, and be a sustainable atmosphere and think about the company’s social responsibilities (PSA Peugeot Citroen). Their goal for the future is to be one of the biggest and most known carmakers by 2020.
In 2012, Peugeot started to launch new designs for “diesel hybrid technology”, the company’s way of competing with the hybrid world. Peugeot also has two key elements of their strategy for 2013. The first is upmarket positioning; if the company can attract a higher paying segment of the market, it will be able to reach more customers, and in return, make more profit. The other key element is internationalization; Peugeot has plants and dealerships in 160 countries, including China, and Brazil in the next few years. (PSA Peugeot Citroen)
Resource Audit

Since the financial crisis in 2008, it has become more expensive to buy raw materials using the euro (CCFA). Oil is an example of a raw material used in car manufacturing and distribution. Because most cars use oil, it is a necessity in the business; yet, the rising price makes it difficult for French manufacturers.

The five main raw materials used in the making of a car are steel, plastic, aluminum, rubber, and glass (George). In France, both the steel industry and the aluminum industry have become bigger over the past three decades but have recently started to suffer due to the economic downturn in 2008. The industry has gone through some recent problems with the government as well in the past year. President Holland wanted to nationalize and take control of a steel plant. Many said it would be bad for France’s steel industry if that were to occur. In fact, the French steel industry, like most others around the world, has lost business in the past few years. (Matlack) Factories in both industries have recently shutdown or been sold to other international companies.
The plastic industry in France is one of the bigger industries in Europe, just behind Germany (Robin). France’s plastic industry helps its car industry as well: “France and Germany are both at the head of the plastics processing industry for cars (more than 10% of the outlet)” (Robin). This obviously is a good thing for companies like Renault and Peugeot that need plastic and can get it for a better price because it is in the country already. Less shipping costs and trade barriers make it cheaper to manufacturer automobiles.
France is one of the largest importers of rubber in the world today. There has been a steady rise in the price of rubber that has impacted the industry. (BusinessVibes) Michelin, a French tire company, is one of the leading tire producers in the world with many plants internationally. This is important for Renault and Peugeot because tires are needed in production of all vehicles.
There are currently 41 glass factories in France that are owned by 24 French companies. This industry was also affected by the financial crisis in 2008 and has seen a decrease in production since. France is tied with Italy and Belgium for the second biggest glass industry, just behind Germany, in the European Union. (Semel)
Value Chain Analysis

The business activities that a car manufacturer does in-house have changed over the past years because of the growing number of companies that have gone international. Companies must adapt to keep up with the competition, and some processes need to be changed to do this. More car manufacturers are giving their suppliers a bigger part in the process: “Vehicle manufacturers in North America and Western Europe reduced their in-house production levels and began to transfer design functions to their leading suppliers” (Humphrey). There has been a shift in control as well between the suppliers and the manufacturers: “A first-tier supplier becomes responsible not only for the assembly of parts into complete… but also for the management of second-tier suppliers” (Humphrey). The responsibility that has been shifted from the manufacturer to the supplier has made it easier for the manufacturer to focus on other aspects of the business, such as going global or sales promotions.

It is also becoming more efficient to use a Just-In-Time system. With trends and technology changing constantly, companies must adapt just as fast. When a company uses the Just-In-Time system, they only make a certain amount of cars, depending on the demand, which helps to save costs. With the Just-In-Time system comes the need to finish the products as quickly and properly as possible. If something is wrong with the product, there could be major repercussions. It is important for the manufacturer to invest in personal relationships with their suppliers to make sure every task is done with care. (Humphrey)
Now that more companies are giving more responsibilities to their suppliers, the jobs that each tier does has changed. The assembler, such as Renault or Peugeot, focuses on increasing brand recognition, innovation, design of product, and the manufacturing of the product. The next tier, or first-tier suppliers, provides parts to the assemblers. These first-tier suppliers may have a global reach or just sell locally. The next two tier, second-tier and third-tier suppliers, work on a more national scale and help the company in production in the given country. (Humphrey)
Renault is an example of a company that outsources some of its production to stay ahead of competition. Renault has been using solar panels on delivery and shipping centers to help lower emissions of CO2 from the company. These solar panels were put on some of these facilities in 2012 and Renault has contracted out two different companies for operation of these panels. The two companies are Gestamp Solar and Coruscant. (Renault) This production and operation is an example of a project that was outsourced by Renault.
Core Competence Analysis

The top ten car companies, based on sales, in 2013 are Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Ford, Nissan, Honda, Peugeot, Suzuki, and Renault in order from one to ten. In comparison, Renault (number ten) produced more than 2.6 million cars, Peugeot (number eight) produced more than 2.9 million, and Toyota (number one) produced more than 10.1 million cars in 2012. Toyota’s biggest markets are Japan and the United States. Renault and Peugeot are the only two manufacturers on the list that do not sell to the United States market. Nissan, Renault’s partner, is the number six biggest automobile company. (Sauter)

(information collected from Sauter)
Toyota has a few key aspects to their success in the market; one of the main aspects is Toyota’s new mainstream way of production called the “Toyota Production System” (TPS). This system ensures that the employees are always thinking about product quality and cost awareness. The system also concentrates on the speed at which the cars are produced. The other key factor to Toyota’s success is the employees. Toyota challenges the employees to be aware of new innovations and to create new ideas based on their knowledge of production. Toyota thinks that the employees know the company the best and it is important for the employees to work together to come up with better designs. (Advance! Business Consulting) This system creates unity within the company that also helps it succeed.
There are a couple ways for Renault or Peugeot to take the competitive advantage in the automobile market. Since 80% of the top 10 car manufacturers have a part in the US market, it is important for both Renault and Peugeot to consider that market. Renault has done a little with its alliance to make some profit in the US market, but both companies could consider entering. Another competitive advantage would be to keep innovating and become a company that is known for its new products. Both Renault and Peugeot say that innovation is important in their structures, but it is also essential to keep up with technology and new trends such as electric cars. These changes and improvements could help both companies keep a competitive advantage over the top car manufacturers.
Performance Analysis

Renault has made some major changes in the past two decades to fit the changing industry. Because the world is becoming more globalized, companies must focus on internationalization. Renault has done a good job with this; the company’s alliance with Nissan and its recent joint venture with China car manufacturer Dongfeng, will help Renault become a global player. Globalization has become a regular for companies so Renault’s two partnerships will help it succeed in the future. There are other perks to being aligned with another company as well; Renault was selling fewer cars in the summer of this year. Nissan contributed some profits to Renault’s manufacturer to help get the company stabilized again. (Gain)

Peugeot has taken a different approach to internationalization; the company designs some different models for each country that they sell in to adapt to that country. For example, Peugeot sells different models for its markets in Russia, China, and Latin America. The company also sells some of the same models all over the world and tries to manufacture the models at the same time. For example, Peugeot recently manufactured a car in both the Chinese and French markets at the same time and promoted at the same time. (PSA Peugeot Citroen)
Both companies have had problems selling in France in the last year so it is important that both companies have some stake in international markets. It is also vital to focus on new innovations and the electric models for both companies. To stay competitive, Renault and Peugeot must adapt to consumer needs and wants.
As mentioned in the Resource Analysis, France has the resources needed to manufacture the cars and it has the workforce as well. In 2012, 9% of the French population was working directly and indirectly with the auto industry (CCFA). France also has a population of 65.9 million people, which is the 22nd biggest population in the world. They are also part of the European Union, which has the third biggest market in the world, bigger than the United States, with 509 million people. (CIA) This being said, the French car market is a big and stable one considering that most people use cars and cars need to be replaced. The car market in Europe has been declining over the past year, but many hope for a change in 2014. Experts believe that the auto market will stabilize or even grow in 2014 (Reuters).
S.W.O.T. Analysis of Renault-Nissan and Peugeot

The most obvious strength that Renault-Nissan has in the transportation industry is the alliance between the French and Japanese companies. Because of this alliance that was created in 1999, Renault-Nissan is now the fifth largest automobile company in the world (Vautier). By combining these two companies through a cross-shareholdings system, Renault-Nissan is able to have a bigger share of the automobile market. For example, Renault stopped making cars for the United States because of safety regulations but they still make profit off of many cars sold in the United States because Nissan does so well. The two companies are also able to share ideas and innovation on certain car models because they have an alliance.

Another strength of Renaults is range of countries where their vehicles are sold. Renault has over 13,000 outlet, dealers, and agents’ sites world-wide in countries such as Brazil, Russia, Germany, and Argentina (Vautier). This creates a bigger market for Renault and, as a result, more profit.
As stated on the Renault website, they personally believe that one of their greatest strengths is “the level of employee commitment”(Vautier). Employee happiness and commitment is important to a company because it creates a better work environment and a good word of mouth for the company.
Peugeot Citroen has the strength of technology: “PSA's strengths reside in its technology”(Barnato). This is an important aspect to have in today’s world because of the need for knowledge; many car models are based on a similar design and are advertised on how the inside looks and works more than the actual model. Technology has an importance in today’s automobile economy that can be seen in many commercials.
Before the alliance between Renault and Nissan, Renault had a few weaknesses that needed to be addressed. Renault needed to change three key aspects: their lack of technology, lack of recognition in the US and Japan, and their small production setup (Tareen). To ameliorate these weaknesses, Renault has created a partnership with Nissan. Nissan has newer technology ideas, a presence in both the Japanese and American markets, and has bigger production facilities.
Now, a weakness that Renault and Peugeot, along with most other car manufacturers, face is recalls on faulty products. When companies recall products, they have the potential to lose clients because of fear. If a customer has a bad experience or thinks that the vehicle is not safe, there are potential backlashes that could result in the loss of profit.
Another weakness that has recently occurred for Peugeot is it’s declining stock. Because of the 2008 market crash, “Peugeot…has suffered deeply from the downturn in the European car industry”(Barnato). This is a weakness that could potentially hurt Peugeot in the future as well. If stock keeps decreasing, Peugeot may have trouble generating new customers and even keeping their current customers.
For both Peugeot and Renault, a major opportunity would be a division for environmentally friendly cars. With gas and diesel prices increasing and “Going Green” campaigns becoming more popular, companies need to start thinking of the best designs for hybrid cars or even electric cars. Companies like Toyota have created cars that save costs on gas and are more environmentally structured like the Prius. Other companies, such as Smart Car, have designed cars that only run on electricity and help the customer save money on gas. Peugeot and Renault have both designed and marketed electric cars, but they both need to publicize and promote them more based on the way the world and customers’ minds are thinking more environmentally.
A second opportunity for both companies is the United States market, which is the second biggest automobile market in the world. Although many say neither Renault nor Peugeot will return to the US market, it may be a good opportunity to discuss. Both companies previously sold car in the US market, but were either dropped or could not keep up with changes safety regulations. (Keegan) One of the reasons Renault is a shareholder of Nissan is because Nissan is established and has a percentage of the American market. This was one of the ways Renault has grasped this opportunity, but the company could always reintroduce its car back into the market.
An opportunity that both companies have said is a goal is to enter into the Chinese automobile market, which is the biggest in the world (Keegan). Recently, China has approved a joint venture between Renault and a Chinese car company Dongfeng, which will help Renault acquire a percentage of the Chinese market holding. Renault holds 50 percent of the shares in the joint venture and will be able to sell cars to a new market. (Yahoo!).
One of the major threats to PSA Peugeot Citroen is cannibalization. Because the company has two different sectors, one under the name Peugeot and the other under Citroen, this could lead to competition between the two different types of cars. Competition within a company is not a good thing to have and can lead to the failure of a company. (Cristian).
For both companies, the amount of competition is a big threat. Because there are many companies in the automotive industry, it is important for Renault and Peugeot to keep their competitive advantages by adapting to new trends and new technology. Without adaption and innovation, both companies will have a hard time keeping up.
Porter’s Five Forces

The rivalry amongst existing competitors is high because of the amount of companies that manufacture cars. Many of these competitors such as Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen to name a few, create the rivalry that French companies encounter. Depending on the quality of the car and the technology that is placed in it, the price of a car can greatly vary. Having said this, there is a certain fixed price that a new car does not go under. Many new cars today cannot be sold for under $14,000. Because of the amount of competition within this sector, there is a low switching cost associated with car companies. Most car companies have a low cost model, which makes it easier for the customer to switch from one manufacturer to another with very little penalty. This also means that there are low levels of product differentiation because each company must have a low cost model to compete in the market. There are cases where manufacturers such as Porsche do not have low cost models because it does not factor in with the “luxury cars”.

France is doing well in the auto industry when compared to other countries. France is the second top car manufacturer in Europe with an estimated number of 3.1 million cars in 2012. They are just behind Germany, who produced about 4.5 million cars in 2012. France is also the fourth biggest car producer globally behind Japan, Germany, and the United States. (Usa Ibp Usa) In 2012, the total global passenger car production was about 63 million and Europe manufactured 23.2% of the total (Huynh).
Aspects of the rivalry amongst competitors tie in with the concept of buyer power as well. When a customer can switch very easily from one product to another, it makes the power of the buyer higher. There is also another way of looking at buyer power though because in the world we live in at the moment, life is very hard without a car. This means in most places, it is essential for every family to have at least one car. This gives some of the power back to the car manufacturers. Perhaps in the future, cars will not be needed, or may even be banned, from the cities. For now though, it is very hard to live without a car.
Supplier power is weak as well because of the amount of suppliers in France and globally. The number of automotive suppliers just is France is “600 Tier One and 3,000 Tier two suppliers” (Huynh). Some of these suppliers are Valeo, Michelin, Sommert-Alibert, Bertrand Faure, and Plastic Omnium (Huynh). Because there are so many suppliers in the industry, car manufacturers can switch from supplier to supplier based on their needs and satisfaction. The more choices that the manufacturers have in suppliers, the less power the suppliers have.
Renault-Nissan has most of the power in the relationships with their suppliers because the suppliers must apply to work with Renault. After a supplier applies to the Renault Supplier Portal, Renault carefully decides if the supplier will be a good fit for the corporation. Renault has guidelines and a code of conduct that all suppliers must abide by. The suppliers must adhere to these rules and are regularly evaluated by Renault to enforce them. (Vautier)
The threat of substitution is high in the automotive industry. Because a car is a form of transportation, any other transportation is a threat. In cities, the automotive industry is threatened by more people who walk instead of drive or bike instead of drive. Public transportation, such as buses, metros, or trams, is also a threat. Trains and planes also threaten the automotive industry for faster transportation over long distances. Another threat that is closer to a car is the hybrid car; with more concern over oil and gasoline use, many people are starting to buy hybrids and electric cars.
The threat of entry into the automotive industry is very low. It is hard to start a new car manufacturer company because of patents, regulations, and high costs associated with building plants. There are many safety regulations that automobile companies must abide by and the barriers to entry are very high because of this. There are many patents in the industry as well; in 2012 alone, a total of “22,688 new patents filed globally” (Ponticel). Another threat to entry is customer loyalty to established brands. If a new company is created in the industry, they may have trouble creating a customer base because of customer loyalty to a brand that he/she knows. The customer may be suspicious of any new companies.
P.E.S.T. Analysis

In terms of the political spectrum of the P.E.S.T. Analysis, France has many taxes on vehicles ranging from CO2 emissions to tax incentives to have electric cars. In 2008, “France introduced a program that offered subsidies to purchases of low-emissions vehicles and imposed taxes on purchases of high-emissions vehicles” (Klier). Because of tax laws for the EU, many countries have taxes for high-emission vehicles. This is to promote cars that are better for the environment. This program was in addition to other taxes on ownership of a vehicle in France. The French Government also raised taxes on diesel in the past year, saying it was for health concerns (Kreindler). Some of the other taxes on vehicles are a registration tax and a tax on the annual ownership of a vehicle.

France has an agency whose primary focus is to know and help with the automobile industry’s needs: Comité des Constructeurs Français d’Automobiles (CCFA). This association’s “mission is to study and defend the business and industrial interests of all French automobile manufacturers on both national and international levels” (CCFA). Both Renault and Peugeot are a part of this organization.
In terms of the economical spectrum, France uses the euro as their form of currency. The euro has had some problems with debt crisis and economic crisis over the past few years but is currently becoming one of the strongest major currencies in the world. The euros has risen 3.6% in the past year compared to the US dollar. (Hong)
In the past 2013 quarter, France’s economy has had a downturn; it shrank 0.1% since the last quarter and does not show signs of improvement for the end of the year. The economic downturn is a bad thing for France especially because President Holland has shown a big decrease in popularity as well. Many experts are saying the French economy is in need of structural reforms. (Thomas)
In terms of the social spectrum, as mentioned previously, France has recently put a tax on diesel stating the reason as “public health”. Many are worried about the affects of CO2 emissions on humans and the environment; there are more laws, taxes, and incentives to make the automobile buyers and manufacturers more aware of this problem. The European Union has even set a goal to be achieved by 2015: “European Union sets greenhouse gas emissions rate standards and has mandated a decrease in emissions rates of about 20 percent from 2009 to 2015” (Klier). These recent changes and focuses on the environment have changed the automobile industry immensely.
The population in France as of July 2013 is 65.9 million people with about 81% of the population being older than the legal driving age in France. The population grows an average of .5% for the past few years. France also has a growing population of immigrants, most of which are North African. This is important to note to compare to the amount of people who are eligible to own a car and how big the market will be in the future. (CIA)
Because vehicles have become a standard need in life, many of the competitors produce models that are similar. There are a few safety features that are important for a car manufacturer to have in its cars for standardization and for a chance to sell in today’s market. Seatbelts are one of the best safety features in a car; there are different ways to make and place the seatbelt but they are an important feature that cannot be forgotten. Air bags are important for the same reason as seatbelts. Other safety features are head injury protection, head restraints, antilock brake system, traction control, all-wheel drive, and electronic stability control. Cars must also be a certain weight to ensure the safety of a passenger in case of a crash. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) All of these features are important for a manufacturer to be competitive today.
In terms of the technological spectrum, there are many advances occurring today and many car manufacturers strive to be innovative and be the first to implant an idea. Technology is a big part of the automobile industry whether it deals with Bluetooth to the owner’s phone to using solar energy to help run the car. To keep up with the competition, car manufacturers must implant the new ideas as soon as possible. It is now the norm to make one’s primary focus technology in the automotive business: “A survey of 200 automobile executives around the globe concluded that this year -- and probably for at least the next couple of years -- the industry will focus on pushing the technology envelope” (Heaps).

Based on statistics and data collected and presented in this paper, Renault and Peugeot are both doing relatively well. There is room for improvement but both companies are in the top 10 car manufacturers in the world. Both have a strong hold on the European market and sell all around the world.

As discussed in the paper, it is important for Renault and Peugeot to keep up with the competition by adapting to current trends, such as being environmentally friendly, and also keeping up with new technology and better, faster ways from production. Both companies have many opportunities that they can pursue and need to be careful about threats from other companies.
In conclusion, France is a country with many people and many opportunities for a car manufacturer. France’s needs for automobiles may change in the future, but for now, Renault and Peugeot are doing well.


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