The weak economy in France has given rise to makeshift mechanics creating a black market for car repairs.
All over greater Paris as well as in the rundown housing estates surrounding many French cities, amateur repair ‘shops’ spring up in the open air as well as in underground car parks, disused factories and warehouses and even supermarket parking areas.
There is no shortage of men, often undocumented migrants, willing to undertake the repairs for a knocked-down price. Often it is the only income they have.
While some fresh air mechanics have to post watchers to help move cars if the police turn up, others are so well established that lorries even deliver cars from Belgium or Germany for repair work.
Those who benefit most are likely to be the residents of the poor estates where most people have an old used car which frequently demands attention.
Such business has always existed in poor areas, but has gained ground since the financial meltdown of 2008.
Tenant associations often complain about the oil slicks and wrecked cars blighting the area. Local authorities are aware of the pop-up mechanics but often take little action to contain the trade. Where parking bans or concrete blocks have been imposed, the mechanics simply move elsewhere.
Some officials say a higher priority for them is violent theft and the street mechanic trade is not a source of crime as such, although they will swoop if things get out of hand.
A few councils are considering establishing community garages where residents can repair their car in exchange for a low subscription fee.