French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg has accused Hyundai Kia of ‘Dumping’ cars in the French market.
M. Montebourg claims that since South Korea and the EU signed a Free Trade deal in July 2011, South Korean exports to the EU had jumped by 50 per cent in January and February 2012, mainly in the segment of small diesel engined cars – exactly what PSA and Renault consider ‘Their’ market.
All of which is wonderful rhetoric to divert attention from the two main reasons PSA and Renault are struggling in their own market – the ridiculous Euro situation and chronic over-capacity governments are too afraid to address.
But the truth is quite different to the subjective judgement delivered by M. Montebourg.
Almost 90 per cent of Hyundai’s cars sold in France in the first half of 2012 weren’t imported from Korea but built in the EU in Hyundai’s Czech plant. Even more interesting than that is that Hyundai were nowhere near the biggest importers of cars from South Korea to France in that period.
In the first six months of 2012, Hyundai imported just 1,777 cars from South Korea to France, whilst in the same period Renault (yes, that French car maker M. Montebourg is so keen to protect) managed to import 4.5k cars and GM 15k cars – all from South Korea.
Not only do Hyundai import fewer cars in to France than Renault, they are building their global business by committing to design and build cars in the regions they serve – good for Hyundai and the local economies.
It would be nice, just for a change, if a French Minister could offer an objective judgement. Not one designed to inflame public opinion in France and divert attention from the real issues.
Perfidious Albion? More like Perfidious Gaul.