A walk through the halls of the Paris Motor Show

A walk through the halls of the Paris Motor Show

Monday, 8 october 2018 | Redacción CEU

The event known as "le Mondial de l'Auto" celebrates its hundredth and twentieth anniversary. From the 4th to the 14th of October, Paris Expo Porte de Versaille will show the latest developments of an industry in full transformation. As usual, this biannual event, which every year take turns with the Frankfurt Motor Show, becomes one of the most important dates in the automotive world. This type of meetings do not only serve to show muscle to the competitors and impress, seduce and win over car enthusiasts, but they are also useful to understand where the firms are and what the general health of the industry is.


If the international automotive show of Paris 2018 has been characterized by something, it has not been by the break with the inertia experienced in previous meetings. The Parisian show has served more than anything to confirm the predictable direction towards which the automotive industry is heading: the commitment to electrification, SUV cars as the star segment and the paradigm shift in the celebration of this kind of events. All this has been seasoned with the industry's worries caused by the US tariff policies and the uncertainty that Brexit is generating, now that its arrival is so close.

The confirmation of the paradigm shift

Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Fiat, Ford, Jeep, Lamborghini, Mazda, McLaren, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo are the brands that decided not to participate in this year in the Parisian event. The absences of important firms in the sector are no longer a novelty, but a pattern that has been occuring again in the last years. The trend is confirmed. The major carmakers have stopped conceiving these famous automobile shows as key events on their calendar that they cannot miss.

Brands prefer to show their vehicles in personalized events which are aimed at their particular interests and that manage to capture the attention they need. The high costs which are involved in attending these types of showrooms and the lack of both media and economic returns which are proportional to the effort they made are the main reasons that seem to justify this change in the behavior of automotive firms.

Facing these international events, regional shows are growing (for example, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona). Manufacturers have realized that these "minor" appointments have also  good visibility and they do not need to allocate such a high investment in them. On the other hand, events like the Paris Motor Show, which usually have the goal of making the product public as much as possible, no longer work in the same way as they used to. Most car lovers get to know the novelties and the new details about brands before these great events are celebrated. The digital era has brought about this scenario. Nevertheless, those interested still need to see the vehicles up close and try them. These regional salons are ideal to fulfill their wish.


A walk through the halls of the Paris Motor Show

A direct route to electrification

Apart from perceiving the need for a reinvention of these big events for their own survival, we can draw other conclusions about the Paris Motor Show 2018, such as the continuous and growing commitment to the electrification that automobile firms have.

In a meeting like this, the brands that play at home tend to make a stronger bet. For example, that has been the case of Renault, which wanted to show its electric muscle to the public. The Renault K-ZE has been one the vehicles that has attracted most attention at the Paris Motor Show. It is an electric SUV that will be manufactured in China and will have a global projection. The firm also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to announce that, either with an hybrid or a plug-in hydraulic version, they will electrify their vehicles of the most popular ranges: Clio, Captur and Mégane. In fact, most automotive companies (Mercedes, Audi, Citroën, etc.) are also in the middle of an electrical transition, something that can be perceived clearly in the halls of the Paris Expo Porte de Versaille.

The entry into force of the WLTP regulation and the legislation about emissions and diesel (like the recent proposal of Denmark to ban the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars in 2030) have played a very important role in the promotion and the acceleration of the transition towards the electrical development. In this international meeting, visitors can find well-known proposals for electric models such as Audi E-Tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC or Peugeot E-Legend. However, there is always an exception for the rule to become the rule. At the Paris Motor Show, people can see the first hydrogen car which will be officially registered and sold in Spain, the new Hyundai Nexo, and get to know the Seat's bi-fuel car proposal which is capable of powering the vehicle by gasoline and compressed natural gas, the Arona TGI.

As could not be otherwise, the SUV segment has also occupied a prominent place in Paris with cars like the new Dacia Duster, the Honda CR-V Hybrid, the fourth generation of the BMW X5, the seven-seater SUV Seat Tarraco, etc. This type of vehicle is taking the lead in the market and displacing other options that were once popular (as is the case of minivans, MPVs).

At The CEU IAM Business School we are aware of the fact that the automotive world needs professionals who are increasingly prepared and highly specialized in order to face this stage of transformation in the industry. That is the reason that has led us to design our Executive Master's Degree in the Automotive Industry Businesses: a training which will allow you to acquire the skills, abilities and tools that are necessary for tackling the challenges of the automotive world with confidence and success.