return to the journey of the “treasure of Peugeot” in the Grand Est

© DR

“You are a living treasure of Automobiles Peugeot”. It is with these words, a reference to the highest honorary distinction in Japan, that Jean-Martin Folz (president of what was then the PSA Group) and Frédéric Saint-Geours (president of Automobiles Peugeot) greeted, ago few years, the 18 years spent by Jean-Paul Bailly at the head of European Peugeot dealerships. One of the highlights of the career in the service of the automobile, the people and the ideas of this Lorraine. Died Saturday May 11 at the age of 84, Jean-Paul Bailly will remain a living treasure in his company (which became the Car Avenue group under the leadership of his son Stéphane), in the hearts of his family but also of countless teammates and friends who accompanied him in his multiple associative, professional and civic commitments.

“To be free is to be trustworthy. » This quote from Saint-Exupéry that Jean-Paul Bailly had chosen to support his speech, on the day of the presentation of the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honor (in a military capacity) in the gardens of the Palace of the Governor of Metz in spring 2018 , was not trivial. All his life he aimed to obtain the trust of his interlocutors and strove to grant it himself.

The choice of weapons

Son of a mechanic, Jean-Paul Bailly took over the family business following the premature death of his father with the support of his uncle himself at the head of the Jacquot garage in Montigny-lès-Metz. The young man who dreamed of studying medicine or HEC enrolled in the course at the Institut Commercial Nancy, just to establish his bearings.

He also underwent superior military training in the cavalry and made the choice, at the time of his call to the flag, to serve and fight in Algeria rather than favor a more peaceful assignment in Germany. He commands, in operations, within the 9e CAR. ” It’s here, he will say, that I learned command, responsibility which is also that of safeguarding one’s troops. » His commitment to the reserve officers and then to the IHEDN (Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defense) will allow Jean-Paul Bailly to continue to cultivate this ideal and these values ​​which he will also put at the service of his other “troops”. », in his companies. Involved in particular in the struggles of training, apprenticeship, housing and health at work of which he chaired the Moselle association until recent years. “Skills and training are necessities that are essential to us. Attention to others too… It was in my companies that I felt like myself. I favor the forces that act over those that react. »

On the way and in the times

With this background and this conviction Jean-Paul Bailly, alongside his younger brother Patrick, will therefore find himself at the head of the Jacquot garage, a Peugeot dealership in Metz. The establishment is located on the edge of Montigny-lès-Metz, just opposite the Botanique with this joyful mix of window display, maintenance workshop, exhibition of used vehicles and administration in a limited space. in terms of its developments. These are the days when each brand is a lifestyle choice and almost a religion. We fight in schoolyards to defend the honor of an authentic “Peugeotist” dad (that was me) compared to pretentious “Citroënists”, original Panhardists or dogmatic Renaultists. In his garage, he and his sales teams (including Jean-Marie Vagneur, left winger of FC Metz) know the technicians as well as the customers, speak with delight about the synchro boxes or the brand new metal paints on the 404 super luxury then the 504 Jean-Paul Bailly has presence, effective words and knows how to convince.

The golden years of the automobile after 1970 were those of market growth and the renewal of garages. The one on rue de Pont-à-Mousson will move to rue Boileau in Metz Nord at the end of the decade. Patrick, Jean-Paul’s brother, manages a second garage in Fensch and then another in Mondelange. He is also involved in the profession at the national level. The major brand maneuvers between Peugeot and Simca Talbot will bring the Simca Talbot dealership in Metz Borny into the group.

At the end of the 1990s, the Bailly brand replaced the Jacquot name. A spread of in-house know-how occurs, car rental activities are added. Jean-Paul Bailly’s investment in professional organizations and in the Peugeot network at European level finds its full fulfillment there.

The new and eternal time

Founding member of the Metz Sud Rotary Club, president of Amétra, also a great hunter before the eternal, Jean-Paul Bailly, born July 20, 1939 (three days before the sign of the lion but we are within the margin of error) cultivates friendship, collective commitment and a form of legitimate pride throughout his life.

And for around twenty years, it has been the resumption of the activity by Stéphane, one of his two sons, which has delighted him. As he himself did during his 40 years of “reign”, Stéphane knows how to bring the new dimension linked to another era. In particular the “Car Avenue” concept that he had matured since his youth and which is in phase with the revolution of a market where brands are indicators but no longer barriers. An area where pooling is king, where the very notion of automobile ownership has partly been erased in favor of that of mobility adapted to needs.

The Bailly group, which Stéphane Bailly took over in 2006 with 12 dealerships, became Car Avenue and today brings together 2,700 employees in 130 dealerships and services (under 27 brands) both in the Grand Est of France and in Burgundy-Franche Comté. as in Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland. “Stay close to its customers, perform well in its activities and meet new mobility needs” is the motto of this impressively successful group, as evidenced by its slogan “mobility and beyond”.

This “beyond” from which Jean-Paul Bailly, whose illness finally prevailed after a long fight, will continue to look with the same pride and affection at his family, his friends, his business and his country. . We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Béatrice, his sons Stéphane and Philippe, his brother Patrick and all those dear to him.

The funeral of Jean-Paul Bailly will be celebrated this Friday, May 17 at 10 a.m. in the Sainte-Thérèse church in Metz

” Son “

“So, are you okay son?” » This expression that Jean-Paul Bailly used to reward me with sometimes runs through my head. Did it go back to the time when I bought my first 204 from him and he recognized the car-crazed kid who had been coming to his house to dream in front of the grilles for 10 years? Maybe… but not sure. At the time of FC Metz, the Fair (he found Folz for me for an inauguration) or Rotary where we were a joint club? Why not ? From the day I asked him to be one of those who, with Philippe Bard, Jean-Louis Petruzzi, Jacques Cercelet and a good dozen other friends, would take the risk of accompanying me in the creation of the Week? More certainly and with real depth.

Support which has never wavered and Stéphane Bailly, when I sold part of my shares as founder, even joined his father in our team of old and new shareholders of La Semaine today around Stéphane Getto. “Son” was simply one of Jean-Paul Bailly’s ways of addressing others and expressing a form of benevolent paternalism.


The turning point of the 1970s

No doubt it is easier to decipher or classify the past than the future! However, it is difficult not to note that in our Moselle, which found itself once again at the front and hostage to history during the Second World War, only three great generations have succeeded each other in command since 80 years. With different amplitudes but with striking simultaneity. That of the builders and dreamers who, in the aftermath of the war, will rebuild a landscape of industry, roads, bridges and highways, houses and peace. Raymond Mondon and, of course, Robert Schuman are the leading figures. This period roughly corresponds to the thirty glorious years and will take us to the turn of the 1970s. A milestone which will be that of the aftermath of May-68, the creation of the University of Metz, the end of Gaullism incarnate. In Moselle, there will be an almost simultaneous renewal of men (and one woman) at the head of the main institutions and companies.

The disappearances in 1969 and 1970 of Victor Demange and Raymond Mondon saw the arrival at the head of the still conquering RL (and almost by divine right) Marguerite Puhl Demange and, at the beginning of 1971 at the town hall, Jean-Marie Rausch. Three years earlier, it was Carlo Molinari who successfully took over from Raymond Herlory at the helm of FC Metz after a transition ensured by Paul Mayer.

News, politics and games were set for 30 to 38 years of sometimes overlapping continuity. At the level of businesses and commerce too, real estate, banking and institutions there are men like Pierre Dap at BPL, Armand Knecht, Gaston Zerr at Cial, Pierre Lajoye then his sons at Bronzes, Philippe Bard in construction, Jean-Paul Bailly in automobiles, Robert Schoendorf then Charles Ruggieri for Batigère, André then Didier Baumgarten in furniture and many others who will build the new landscape in its modernity and openness. Not always easy at a time when the oil crisis, the end of mines and then the planned end of the steel industry are forcing us to invent the future differently.

And it was only from 2005 that things fundamentally changed in Moselle for a new history then a new geography, an ecological priority, a technological and digital invasion at the same time as a sometimes hesitant political aspiration. At the city level, Dominique Gros and Jean-Luc Bohl will complete the landscape sketched by Jean-Marie Rausch before François Grosdidier claimed it.

A context which will nevertheless allow a new generation, as is the case for Stéphane Bailly and Car Avenue, to draw other horizons in a Grand Est which is still searching for itself.

Here are some feelings and memories that came back to mind at the moment when, after André Nazeyrollas then Claude Puhl, Michel Barthélemy, Pierre Raffin, Raymond Ast and of course Jean-Marie Rausch at the beginning of this year, Jean-Paul Bailly shot his reverence for a life and ideas that he served with unfailing enthusiasm.



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