THE FRENCH “DO” CARS IN A SERIOUS WAY
By Jane Rosenstein, Veterans Today Paris Bureau
The theme for the 2010 Mondial de l’Automobile the Paris Motor Show which took place on October 2 to October 17 was “New Energies”. Over 13,000 square meters were devoted to “new energies” where manufacturers and others in the green industries were present.In 2008 there were over 1.5 million visitors and judging from the crowds this year the number will be higher, even though people paid prices of 12 Euros for adults and 6 Euros for students
More than 323 brands of autos from 22 countries were there. Each car manufacturer had attractive hosts and hostesses to present their cars, Dressed in outfits, some great and some awful, selected by agencies, they offered visitors opportunities to sit in cars and answer questions. Visitors, dressed casually with cameras and walking shows walked hours among the 8 pavilions of the show and took photos. They enjoyed seeing presentations and demonstrations. According to a Mazda hostess the majority of visitors were couples, single men and families. She said they came for three reasons:
1. curiosity to see the new models, electric cars and concept cars ( cars not yet produced for sale).
2. special offers to buy cars
3. something to do.
In France, the car industry is a large employer since 1 out of 10 employees works directly or indirectly for the automobile industry.
There were many new interesting cars including concept cars such La Costa by Citroen with its bench seats in white and the Survolt with a feminine design in aqua and Peugeot’s E-Salis. All these cars are totally electric. Electric cars today can go only 150 km. before needing a recharge so those that are sold today are used mainly for businesses which use the car for short drives. The car must be charged by a normal outlet of 220 volts which is standard in Europe. or at an electric charging station. The cost for a complete 6 hour recharge is only 2 euros. Citroen now sells their total electric C Zero.
In addition to seeing automobiles, both average prices and luxury cars like Lexus, Porsche, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz and numerous others there were special attractions.
Citroen offered visitors the opportunity to see a 4 D presentation which simulated racing.
Seats moved up and down, back and forward and side to size. Although seated in a room,, the visitors felt like they were seated in a car racing down a road. Hostesses gave out special glasses. What a fantastic experience in only 2 minutes!
EDF ( Electricite de France) presented an electric vehicle test drive tract where visitors could test drive new cars.
BNP ( Banque Nationale de Paris) sponsored the learning center for eco-driving letting drivers test drive cars and try their luck to wine 4 Fiats. BNP of course wanted to generate more car loans.
An exhibition called “The Incredible Collection” displayed 44 cars from 10 countries. These antiques were from car manufacturers’ museums. Countries represented were France, Germany, USA, Italy and Japan. A Jeep Chrysler from the Walter P. Museum in Arbor Hills, Michigan was on display. Also included were Citroen C4 Roadster Le Mans 1932 and Renault 40 CV Records 1926 a race car. Visitors were amazed at these well preserved cars.
There were special attractions for children and young drivers.
FFSA ( French Motor Sports Federation) had an electric karting tract where people 10-22 enjoyed trying the sport free of charge. Disney FFSA Go-Kart Tract provided children 7-12 years old the opportunity to try go karting. Most enjoyed the experience.
Visitors left the show feeling happy. Just looking at the luxury cars and electric cars, some told me, made them feel wealthy and like they could associate with a luxury car even if just for a a photo!