To be sure, Montebourg's specific charges include an excessive withdrawal of capital from the firm by family interests, which arranged to pay themselves too much in dividends rather than plow the cash back into a failing company. But let's face it: a Socialist government trying to manage a neoliberal economy is frequently going to find itself hoist by its own petard. Outsiders who watch the shadowboxing exhibitions mounted for the diversion of the public can't really form a clear picture of what's going on. Montebourg might have some idea, but then again he might not. He might give himself a better shot at acquiring a clear idea if he adopted a less aggressive public line, if he sought to reconcile company executives, union representatives, suppliers, and other interested parties for the purpose of reaching a consensus as to what a viable strategy might be. This would be the German approach, but neocorporatism wasn't built in a day, and it may not be compatible with French mores. So what alternative does Montebourg have, realistically speaking? If he finds the right combination, he may be destined for great things. If, as is more likely, he doesn't, he may find himself the first ex-minister of the Ayrault government.
UPDATE: Apparently there will be subsidies to manufacturers for producing the "right" kinds of cars:
Ce plan passera par un "soutien massif" aux véhicules "innovants et propres",mais le gouvernement exigera des "contreparties" des constructeurs, selon le ministre du redressement productif. "Nous écartons la prime à la casse et nous nous dirigeons vers des formes de soutien massif vers les véhicules (...) hybrides et électriques", avait expliqué M. Montebourg. "Nous sommes très tentés d'accentuer les mesures liées au bonus malus écologique", avait-il ajouté.Is this the "right" strategy? Without knowing more about where the research & development efforts of the respective companies stand at the moment, it's hard to say. Competitive new technologies cannot be put in place overnight. PSA's partnership with GM may be key here, but what PSA has in mind does not appear to be a Euro version of the Chevy Volt. If it is going hybrid, it will be competing directly with Honda and Toyota, which have a substantial advance. Unless PSA has a winning product up its sleeve, one might question the wisdom of this choice.
Renault a fait de l'électrique un axe majeur de son développement, tandis que PSA Peugeot Citroën privilégie l'hybride. "Nous souhaitons pousser cet avantage, donc finalement favoriser les constructeurs qui travaillent sur le territoire français", avait déclaré M. Montebourg.