• May 1st 2009 at 2:16PM
  • 11
French car magazine Argus has published a French car market report since 1953 that has never shown negative figures. That is, from 1953 to 2007, the average car sold in France was always larger, more powerful, with more engine displacement and more expensive than the average car from the year before. 2008 ended that trend. According to Argus, the average French car is now 2cm (3/4 in.) shorter, 40 kg (three percent) lighter, with smaller engines (-58 cm³ or -3,5 percent). Another downward move: the average price is also down to €18,962, which is €2,683 less than the previous year; the same as in 2004. Argus offers two basic reasons for these reductions: the bonus/malus tax system that encourages automakers to sell less polluting (less powerful) cars and the increase of fuel prices at the pump.

[Source: Le Figaro]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Months Ago
      Let the American whining begin...."loss of rights", "socialist", etc etc..

      While they are improving, we're sinking. Good job.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Please continue doing nothing so we can taunt you a second time.

      • 7 Months Ago
      "Freedom" loving Americans would never accept the French system. It would be called communist, anti-liberty, lol

      Americans are slowly becoming the dumbest folks in the western world, they reject anything that would actually benefit them.
        • 7 Months Ago
        We just don't believe a new government tax is the answer to every problem.
      • 7 Months Ago
      It is not only unpleasant to have cars become more cramped, slow, and flimsy, it is ineffective and UNNECESSARY.

      Ineffective because merely using a little less petroleum per can will not stop the growth of world oil demand as population and economic growth produce more people who can afford to buy cars (and when people can, they do), US MPG went up from 13 to 20 from 1976 to 1990 but oil use went up from 89 to 103. So all those "gains" are for nothing.

      Unnecessary because alcohol fuel burns cleanly (no smoke, soot, or particulate matter, no sulfur, etc.), cannot cause Valdez-style disasters (being water-soluble and biodegradable into safe components), and is renewable. So you can have your powerful roomy robust vehicle burning lots of alcohol without qualm.

      But some people are more interested in Puritan-style moral one-upmanship and smugly flaunting pointless austerity for prestige and fashion than in actual progress and practical results.
        • 7 Months Ago
        I think you completely missed the point. They are not switching to smaller cars JUST for the fuel consumption, but because they want to pay less for a car.
        And cars becoming MORE cramped? You mean the current cars are already too small?
        A smaller car does not necessarily means it becomes cramped. Nor does a small car mean slower or flimsy.
        Then the rest of your "theory"... I don't know where to start, it just doesn't make any sense at all.
        • 7 Months Ago
        "US MPG went up from 13 to 20 from 1976 to 1990 but oil use went up from 89 to 103. So all those "gains" are for nothing."

        No... all those gains prevented oil use from going to 200 or more instead of the actual 103 you quote. More vehicle miles traveled are more vehicle miles traveled. If the average mpg improves, then the impact and cost per mile is lessened.

        In reality, what would have happened if the improvements had not occurred, is that vehicle miles would have peaked at a much lower level (most likely at some amount where the total cost/mile would have been comparable to the actual cost/mile in 1990... same cost, fewer miles regained from this cost). Fewer miles traveled would have had an economic impact, and some of the growth seen during this period would have been stifled.

        So... all those gains were actually for something after all.

        I know there is also an econimic downside to increasing miles traveled... but this is just a simplistic example.
        • 7 Months Ago
        hahaha. So progress = bigger, more powerful, more thrusting? grow up!
        • 7 Months Ago
        bvz, the fact remains that even with substantial increases in average fuel economy, total fuel use went UP. This is a strategy for failure.

        What is needed is to change strategy, to switch fuels.
      • 7 Months Ago
      The smaller car correlates to the lower price. The economy is in a down turn I would expect lower priced, smaller cars to dominate the sales. If this trend continues during a normal sales year then there may be a correlation to the tax system.

      The French can do whatever they want in their country, I doubt any Americans will complain about that.
      • 7 Months Ago
      hmm not sure again that there is a correlation, would make sense for there to be one but tricky with the current economic crisis, though they were building the cars before everything truly went down hill so there is that