As chief executive of Europe’s largest car rental group, Caroline Parot is well placed to assess the levels of support that governments are providing for businesses struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“At Europcar, we lost most of our customers, both leisure and business travellers,” she says from its Paris headquarters. “Getting back up to speed is very slow. For us, the lifting of the lockdown doesn’t mean the crisis is over – it’s going to last for two or three years.”
Europcar has just over a quarter of the European car rental market, with operations in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The group normally buys 400,000 new cars a year, but has cancelled all orders. France is ploughing €8bn (£7.1 bn) into a rescue plan for its car industry, but Renault is cutting 15,000 jobs worldwide.