Karl Lagerfeld says "Apart from fashion, jewellery, perfumes and wine France is not competitive"

Does he have a point or is he blowing smoke?

Quoted here

Designer Lagerfeld calls French president “idiot” over taxes


ETA: I’m starting to think French wine actually isn’t all that competitive for the price, anymore.

Apart from his ignorance about “competitive” Karl is largely correct: France is a high cost country to manufacture in. There are many reasons for this, but you don’t find French manufactured goods in the same class as German, American, or Japanese made goods. Take automobiles: Renault is a very large manufacturer, but they are not in the N. American market, and are only a minor player in S. America. reason? The cars they make are either not as good as the competition, or cost more for the same level of quality.

Furthermore the French are about to introduce insanely confiscatory tax rates and essentially destroy their economy, which is of course a bad thing for the rest of us in Europe, en aggregate. But over here we’re rubbing our hands in glee as hopefully we can attract some of the entrepeneurial French people over here.

Besides fashion, jewelry, perfume, and wine, what else is France *expected *to be competitive in?

As a Californian, I’d have to agree.

They’re the world leaders in nuclear power, by a long margin.

I thought France was almost 100% fashion, jewellery, perfume, and wine. That’s more than most countries have.

Yeah; my thought upon reading the title was “doesn’t that put them four up over most countries?”

Notwithstanding their various difficulties, I’d take the French economy over Chad’s any day of the week.

Don’t forget Ubisoft! They are pretty feckin’ big!

Their fries are almost universally loved!

And OMG, their kisses!

I’d take a French kiss over a Dutch oven.

For various reasons North America is just a tough market to break into, especially as an independent company. The French brands never really made much of an effort. There’s lots of German and Asian brands that similarly haven’t really made inroads in the US.

As to the OP, Airbus seems to be doing alright manufacturing in France.

Michelin tires are another one. Back during that whole kerfuffle, there was a truck driving around my neighborhood that had one of those Bill O’Reilly “boycott France” bumper stickers AND a nice new set of Michelins mounted white letters out!

Yeah; they aren’t exactly Third World. Also, I note:

Which is more important than them being “economically competitive”; really, if they are a nice place to live, then they’ve won the competition that really matters.

Wiki has a list of French companies. There’s a ton of them that I, as an American who doesn’t pay much attention to business news or branding, recognize.

Framatome, Airbus, Dassault Systemes, and EADS would probably disagree.

Renault’s really big here in South Africa.

Despite their best efforts to the contrary.

So, is Lagerfeld an economist who knows what he is talking about? No, he is a rich celebrity who, because of his celebrity, can get his random right-wing political opinions broadcast.

It’s more accurate to say that compared to most countries, the US/Canada are actually the easiest and most open market to break into. There are no punitive tariffs of any significance or any other big barriers to entry, no/few VATs, the currency is free floating, (until recently) no bevy of government backed “national champions” to compete with, etc. Thus car companies actually have to have compelling products and compete on the merits of their engineering.

That’s why the Volkswagen group, the largest car maker in the world, has never been able to make a profit or really any inroads at all into the North American market. To succeed in America you actually have to make good cars, whereas in the rest of the world e.g. VW’s biggest market China, you basically win by selling junk while using the money you save to bribe government regulators.