The Paris Motor Show: “Generations change, but the passion remains”

With nearly 120 years of history, the Paris Motor Show still has the energy of a teenager! With its origins in the lush gardens of the Tuileries in 1898, the show has become a major event in the automotive world. Its Commissioner General, Jean-Claude Girot, spoke about the new features and challenges of the 2016 edition (1-16 October 2016).

Succeed: The Paris Motor Show has enchanted generations of automobile fans… Is this still the case?

Jean-Claude Girot: For me, and most of my compatriots, the automobile is still something magical. For this 2016 edition, we commissioned a survey which showed that 75% of French people still have a passion for cars. If you have any doubts, just watch how people turn to look when a beautiful car passes by in the street. Another proof is that one of four visitors comes to the Paris Motor Show with a purchase in mind. This means that most of the visitors come to spend a day in the universe of automobiles, a bit like visiting an amusement park or an exhibition. Generations change, but the passion remains.

Climate, the digital revolution, safety… Is the automotive industry capable of meeting today’s challenges?

I’m convinced that it is. A top executive in the sector said recently that cars will change more in the next five years than they did in the last 40! They have already undergone major transformations: mechanical differences, lower speeds, greater comfort, numerous integrated services, the rush to connectivity… There are also new practices, like ridesharing, that appear and change the rules for the sector. Our 2016 edition will spotlight these changes.

In that regard, what are the major innovations at the 2016 edition?

First of all, there will be lots of news from the manufacturers. There will be more new models unveiled in Paris this year than in the previous edition, in 2014. And the Motor Show itself is also introducing many innovations. Some good examples are the introduction of driving simulators, an area dedicated to sports cars in Hall 1 and an auction of prestige vehicles. Finally, our “Moteur!, l’automobile fait son cinéma (Motor! The automobile at the movies)” exhibition will allow visitors to rediscover legendary vehicles like the Peugeot 403 seen in Colombo, the Ford Mustang from Bullitt, Jean-Paul Belmondo’s Berliet from “Greed in the Sun” and, of course, James Bond’s cars.

Are you also targeting professionals?

My goal is to make the Paris Motor Show cover the entire industry. This will be achieved this year with the presence of numerous parts manufacturers, several professional associations (FIEV and CNPA) attending in Hall 1, study days run by the PFA (an industry group) and an “Innovation Day” on 5 October. It will be an international event, with numerous start-ups present. We want to address mobility as a whole – not just the automobile.

Finally, can you predict what kind of cars will be exhibited at the next two, three or five editions of the show?

It is very difficult to answer your question because I don’t have a crystal ball! Nevertheless, it seems that we are heading towards cars that are increasingly autonomous and connected. Driving for pleasure still exists but is not quite the same when you have to drive for six hours at reduced speeds on the highway. You might as well take this time to do something else and wait for another occasion to have fun, driving on small roads, with an appropriate vehicle. One thing is certain: technically, the autonomous car already exists!


The Paris Motor Show      1-16 October 2016

Paris Organizer: AMC Promotion
Exhibitors in 2016: over 200 makes
Visitors in 2014: 1,253,513
Advice for visitors:
– try to visit early in the week when the show is less crowded
– expect delays at the entrances due to extensive security measures implemented by the organizers.