A downsized version of the Paris Motor Show opened on Monday (October 17) with plenty of electric vehicles on display.

No Porsches, Audis or Volkswagens, as many car makers have decided to stay at home this year and save the money.

“Many carmakers think that to go to an auto show is extremely expensive, so they’ve decided to give it a miss, it’s the case for BMW, Jaguar or the Volkswagen Group,” said automotive specialist for RTL Radio Christophe Bourroux.

The last edition of the Paris show took place four years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The day kicked off with Renault presenting an all electric concept car, the Renault 4, an SUV inspired by the cheap Renault 4L which was launched in the 1960s. Stellantis premiered their Jeep’s Avenger model.

Renault and Stellantis unveiled new French-made electric vehicles (EVs), as President Emmanuel Macron announced bigger subsidies for poorer families to buy EVs and pushed for more local production.

Most EVs are currently more expensive than fossil-fuel equivalents and are unaffordable for many.

Apart from the aging Renault Zoé, the new Mégane, the Kangoo van and two small SUVs made by Stellantis’s Opel and DS brands, all the 100% electric models sold by French carmakers are assembled abroad.

A lack of French-made EVs is a particularly sensitive subject at an auto show on home turf where Chinese car brands have a strong presence.

“This is a great breakthrough for the Chinese car, and they are undoubtedly ahead on electrification,” Bourroux said.