People’s “attachment” to cars seems subject to even greater pragmatism, not to say necessity, when we consider the economic importance of the sector in almost all Observatoire Cetelem countries. This can obviously be measured in terms of the number of vehicles sold, which is the tip of the iceberg for consumers/motorists. However, if we look beyond the major assembly lines, the sheer size of the automotive industry becomes clear when we take into account all the subcontractors automakers use, not only upstream, but also downstream, i.e., the domain of dealers, mechanics, rental companies, etc.
There is a saying in French: when the building trade is doing well, everything does well. Similarly, it is tempting to say that when the automotive industry is firing on all cylinders, the rest follows. In the European Union alone, the sector accounts for 8.5% of total industrial output and directly employs 2.7 million people. The industry has an industrial presence in every European country featured in L’Observatoire Cetelem, as it does in all the other nations. This is a stark reminder of the economic importance of the auto industry and, above all, of the social and human consequences of a crisis like the one we are experiencing.