PARIS - The tall, blond young man with the boyish face is expected to inherit the company his great-grandfather Louis Heuliez founded in the 1930s.
His grandfather Henri Heuliez and his father Gerard Queveau expanded the company after 1945 to make it the fourth-biggest French carmaker.
In the meantime, Paul Queveau, 29, is learning the automotive business step by step. He is in charge of the group's electric vehicle operations. Heuliez makes the electric versions of the Peugeot 106 and Citroen Saxo - a combined total of 2,800 units since 1995.
Heuliez's main business is the assembly of Citroen Xantia and XM wagons: 30,000 units were produced in 1997. The number is tiny compared with Renault and PSA, but it has enough work for 1,450 people. However, PSA has told Heuliez that the contract will not be renewed, because Citroen needs to fill its own factories.
'To stop making Citroen wagons after 2002 does not prevent Heuliez going on working for PSA Group, in styling, prototyping, parts manufacturing,' said Queveau.
He does not want to inherit an empty factory.
'I get completely involved in the present effort to find new customers,' he says. 'Especially, I work a lot with Jean-Marc Vives, who is in charge of international affairs at Heuliez.'
After Queveau graduated from the Ecole nationale superieure des arts et metiers, a well-known mechanical engineering school in France, he did 18 months' military service.
He spent that time in a Tunisian TV-set factory that belonged to the French consumer electronics group Thomson. 'I was in charge of the information systems in the factory,' he explains.
In 1995 Queveau joined the family-owned company. 'I started coping with logistics and manufacturing in the electric vehicles department.' A year later, he was appointed to the board of France Design, the design, prototype and tools branch of the group.
Queveau now runs Heuliez Tolerie Prototypes and France Outillage Prototypes, two subsidiaries of France Design which make body parts and tools for car prototypes.
Last November he joined the management board of Euro Automobiles, Heuliez's manufacturing branch and its flagship. 'I will soon start to cope with management and finance issues,' he said. 'The organizational part of the business is as interesting as the technical and manufacturing part.'
Queveau is a team player in an aggressive sport, playing forward on the Cerizay rugby team. He is an accomplished sportsman. Like his father, he finds time for shooting and horse riding. And his automotive training course involves a lot of travel.
Last December, he was in Orlando, Florida, to attend the International Electric Vehicle Symposium. Like his father, Paul is convinced that electric vehicles have a future.
Two weeks ago, he went to the Detroit auto show, surrounded by all the Heuliez senior managers: Chairman Gerard Queveau, Chief Designer Marc Deschamps, General Manager Henri Novel and Jean-Marc Vives, the international operations manager.
In March he will be in Geneva, where Heuliez will introduce a convertible hard-top version of its Intruder sport-utility concept. In addition, he says, 'We will probably show five-door versions of the Peugeot 106 Electric.'
But Geneva won't be his most important date in 1998. That honor goes to another page on the calendar: the day on which he will be married.