By on October 21, 2012

“When you do everything right but too late, you do it all wrong. Before reaching a dead end, PSA decided to forge a partnership with a manufacturer [General Motors] that I don’t consider to be among the industry’s leaders of the pack. Overall, I think there is a lack of ambition [when it comes to product] from the French manufacturers.”

-Thierry Morin, former CEO of Valeo


Given how much love there is in certain sections of TTAC for PSA products – the Citroen C6, for example – this quote seems like a dagger in the heart for some readers. I profess a profound affection for the C6, the DS range and even newer Peugeots like the 208 and 508. Renault’s lineup, particularly the Renaultsport cars, are undeniably enticing and I one day hope to be the world’s preeminent scholar of Dacia’s impact on the auto industry.

Viewed through a North American lens (i.e. the grass is greener on the Continent), I can’t say I find French cars to lack ambition. On the contrary, I find their styling and packing quite bold and innovative. I dare anyone not to look at the C6 above and be dumbstruck by its elegance. But there’s the undeniable fact that French cars are non-entities in virtually every market save for France and Iran (where Peugeot is a big player).

Morin cites the lack of powerful engines as a reason for the decline of French cars and their inability to maintain a premium position, but French cars have never been about big power. The Renaultsport lineup is consistently praised by the enthusiast press, and is popular enough that when Renault’s lineup was all but eliminated in the UK to make way for Dacia, the Renaultsport cars were spared the executioner’s axe due to their strong sales.

And then, Morin hits on what may be the ultimate reason behind the decline of French cars relative to the competition

Year after year, the gap widens between German and French car manufacturers. Germans, just like the Japanese, always deliver better cars to market. They are really passionate about cars and they are focused on improving everything about their cars from one generation to the next. When you get in an Audi A1, it is exceptionally refined for such a small car and it echoes the premium-ness of the bigger A6 or A8. While German CEOs are real ‘car guys,’ in France, many people thought that being a wise and talented executive was enough to be successful in the automotive business. It proved wrong sometimes. This lack of obsession is the main difference between France and Germany. I think that being too disconnected from the product is a problem.

Stop me if you’ve heard that before.

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54 Comments on “QOTD: PSA, Renault Cars Lack “Ambition”...”


  • avatar
    th009

    How many car companies outside Germany and Japan actually have a “car guy” at the helm? Carlos Ghosn came from the tire business which is kind of close, but not quite the same, and Alan Mulally from aerospace. Most others are from much farther afield.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “While German CEOs are real ‘car guys,’ in France, many people thought that being a wise and talented executive was enough to be successful in the automotive business.”

    Honestly, that sounds like nonsense.

    The Germans have long been aggressive about building export markets and brands that could command high prices. The French, not so much; they relied heavily on their protected markets to survive without being competitive, and they did little to build credibility in the luxury market.

    The closed market model works really well until the market is opened. Closed markets usually produce uncompetitive companies, and opening those markets will allow stronger foreign firms to enter the market and prevail. This happened in Sweden, in Britain, and in Italy, and it’s happening now in Australia as we speak.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Germans have long been aggressive about building export markets and brands that could command high prices. The French, not so much; they relied heavily on their protected markets to survive without being competitive, and they did little to build credibility in the luxury market.”

      That’s the point. That’s how it is. Look at the Citroen C6 picture above. That might very well be the last French luxury car. And how did it fail.

      Look at Peugeot, luxury-class-wise. Silently, they have dropped their gasoline V6 engines (nice engines, especially, if combined with a relatively low-weight car), they have dropped their very comfortable suspensions, and are now aping VW/Audi.

      They both have lost their unique selling points (Renault as well, btw.). Competition still works. No reason to cry.

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      Dead on.

    • 0 avatar
      vaujot

      “The Germans have long been aggressive about building export markets and brands that could command high prices. The French, not so much; they relied heavily on their protected markets to survive without being competitive, and they did little to build credibility in the luxury market.
      The closed market model works really well until the market is opened. Closed markets usually produce uncompetitive companies, and opening those markets will allow stronger foreign firms to enter the market and prevail. This happened in Sweden, in Britain, and in Italy, and it’s happening now in Australia as we speak.”

      This might be a plausible theory but I don’t think it has a foundation in fact. France, Britain, Italy, Sweden and Germany are all part of the European Common Market and have been for a long time. The German market is not any more open than the others. That German car companies are more successful then those from the rest of Europe must have other reasons, therefore.
      I think, a lot has to do with the fact that the car was invented here. Daimler, Benz, Diesel and Otto were all German engineers. Therefore, the automotive industry has a stronger standing, more political clout and probably more attraction to ambitious engineers than it does elsewhere. Audi, VW, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes are usually on the list of desirable employers among young engineers. And engineering as a profession may also be a more attractive career choice here than in other parts of Europe and the world, due to the German engineering tradition that goes beyond the auto industry (e.g. Siemens, Bosch). I am aware that this is all unbacked speculation on my part but I live in Germany so I might have a closer view than most readers of this US based website.

      • 0 avatar
        Scherping

        Speaking of “Building export Markets”, this is precisely what I hope a GM-PSA Merger will accomplish for PSA – a sort of course correction. Together, they can streamline suppliers, cut redundancies, and consolidate platforms. This will save an immense amount of money – capital that both can enjoy and desperately need at the moment. The biggest win for PSA that I can forsee in the future, is access into the North American market through GM Sales channels. To help absorb exchange rates, they’re sure to pile on the options to become more profitable – something that promoted a luxurious German image to Americans. It’s easy for Americans to accept French cars as a delecacy, just as we do crepes for breakfast.
        PSA would be wise to capitalize on the weak dollar right now and build factories in the USA for export – or simply max out their capacity in European factories for export to the Americas. This could help absorb the losses in Europe, save both parties money, and draw showroom traffic to GM dealerships! Both parties win.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “France, Britain, Italy, Sweden and Germany are all part of the European Common Market and have been for a long time.”

        The French maintained import quotas even through the 90s. One reason that the Japanese have limited market share in Europe today is that those barriers limited their abilities to gain share and distribution in Europe.

        In any case, it takes decades for these businesses to deteriorate. General Motors’ demise in North America began in the 60s and accelerated in the 70s even while GM was increasing domestic market share, yet it didn’t file bankruptcy until 2009.

        Some companies hide behind their protected status, others don’t. Japan once had formidable fixed barriers (it has fewer today that it once did), but it maintained those while focusing on the demands of their export markets. France also protected its automotive industry, but in its case, those protections just fostered complacency.

  • avatar
    tatracitroensaab

    I am convinced that the future of French cars lies with Nissan and Dacia. Renault is doing okay, but mostly because it is held up by these guys and its investments.

  • avatar
    b787

    As an European, I think he has a point. Japanese cars are generally thought to be boring but very reliable, German cars also have a strong following – many people consider them as being the most durable and best build while also having a bit of premium feel. French cars are mostly bought by people who buy their cars rationally, they simply appreciate the combination of styling, practicality, economy and comfort at a decent price. The problem is that this market is being aggressively targeted by Škoda on one side (VW technology on the cheap) and ever-improving Koreans on the other, not to mention low-cost brands.

    That said, DS series as well as many other cars in their range look great, but so do Hyundai’s main offerings. Volkswagens, on the other hand, look relatively boring, but they are sporting advanced technologies such as turbocharged engines, cylinder deactivation etc. while also being perceived as more reliable and better built.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i’d say to an extent, the koreans and the japanese dont have character… they hired enough foreign help and studied their target market to make a product that suits

    the French did not. I could be play to prejudices and say its Gallic arrogance but i doubt its even that.

    unless France wants to put the markets they want to sell in under the microscope and live America, India, China etc. they won’t succeed

    Right now Dacia is doing ok. PSA and Renault need to study them and Hyundai/Kia and work out why its working for their competitors.

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    Valeo’s former CEO is anything but an unbiased voice when it comes to the french car companies.

    That said, I think France is a country that fell out of love with cars somewhere in the last decade. It does not seem to bother the average frenchman that F1 is not even there anymore – and in the past F1 as a huge, HUGE thing for the french. The whole racing scenario there is nowhere near what it used to be.

    It is worth a decent analysis. When was the last time any frech automaker had a technological upper hand whithin the auto industry? Honestly I can’t remember.

    We must not forget, though, that Peugeot is still Europe’s runner up to Volkswagen, and that Renault does hold bragging rights for Dacia. And don’t think for a second that it is the other way around with Dacia and Renault. Before Renault stepped in, Dacia was still using 1960′s technology.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      PSA is the runner-up group, and Renault is third. But the brands’ market share doesn’t look so good for the first 9 months of 2012:
      1. VW 12.3%
      2. Ford 7.6%
      3. Opel/Vauxhall 6.9% (!)
      4. Renault 6.6%
      5. Peugeot 6.5%
      6. Audi 5.6%
      7. Citroen 5.5%
      8. BMW 4.9%
      9. Fiat 4.7%
      10. Mercedes 4.6%
      11. Toyota 4.0%
      12. Skoda 3.8%
      13. Nissan 3.5%
      14. Hyundai 3.4%
      15. Kia 2.7%

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        They still hold 12% of the european market. Their biggest issue is not marketshare in Europe, but elsewhere. And they keep doing the wrong choices. The 208 is the wrong car for the current reality. What they need is a Dacia Sandero, not a compact car designed under european standards.

      • 0 avatar

        Viquitor:

        Sadly the 208 will compete (or try) with Punto, Polo, Sonic. I think it won’t do so hot but it will have to do with dealer network, resale, cost of maintenance. Peugeot has an uphill battle in this case. Unlike Renault, they don’t seem to be really doing much about it.

        The Sandero competition should hopefully be here in mid 2013, the 301. Let’s hope for PSA’s sake that it’s not too little too late.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I say a deathwatch/zombiewatch for Peugeot and Renault. GM and PSA might lurch along in an ugly tango of incompetence and Nissan might pour money into Renault like like firemen dousing a fire; but all of this is doubtful. EU rules won’t let France save their national car companies. This will be uglier than Saab and last longer due to French and EU meddling. My apologies to fans of both brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      The PSA deathwatch is a realistic proposition. Renault, in the other hand, is not doing that bad. Renault might become more global than french, but won’t go the way of the Saab anytime soon.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i cant be bothered looking it up but I reckon Renault is reasonably healthy with Nissan/Dacia and certain markets (South America?)

    PSA has the problem

    The way I look at it is Fiat/Chrysler is doing quite well despite having non prescence in manyt markets… Nissan Renault should be many multiples better than Sergio’s crew.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Renault/Dacia is losing money, though it’s not bleeding as badly as PSA; it’s Nissan that’s keeping the group profitable.

      Without Chrysler, Fiat would be dead man walking. Its European market share is falling off a cliff, there are few new products, and now the imports to Brazil (its biggest success story) are restricted, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        There isn’t one single Fiat product sold in Brazil that comes from Europe. The only two imports Fiat has in its brazilian lineup are the Freemont and the 500. Both come from Mexico, with which Brazil has a free trading agreement.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @Viquitor, if you have been following the Brazil situation you will notice that imports from Mexico have been capped, and Fiat is restricted as to the number of Freemonts and 500s it can import.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        @th009 I have, and Fiat won’t have many problems with that since both the Freemont and the 500 are not volume cars. Nissan is in deep trouble, since it’s pretty much the only brand to bring volume cars from Mexico: the Versa and the March.

      • 0 avatar

        th009:
        How much of Nissan’s current success is due to Renault? Nissan uses Renault OEM engines, parts, electronics and platforms for their smaller cars now. How much of a Versa is Nissan? I think it’s almost impossible to say what is what. Good job Carlos.

        So I believe that when talking Renault or Nissan the two are now inseparable. In Brazil they have jointly 10% of the market (Renault 7%, Nissan 3%). In my neck of the woods the Brazilian Big 4 is no more. Fiat (roughly) 24%, VW 22%, GM 19%. Ford 8% and Renault 7%. That’s one giant shift in the worldwide auto industry. In many ways Brazil is insular but being the 4th largest market in the world (and maybe 3rd in a year or two), and having a strong position in it, means long term perspectives of success for companies that are strong here.

      • 0 avatar

        Viquitor:

        Fiat could be selling at least double what they do now if quotas (and strong US demand) were not a reality. The Freemont is being nationalized and the 500 could become Brazilian in 2014. That means there is a market for these cars and the “free (not so free anymore) trade” agreement with Mexico is affecting Fiat the most out of the big players in Brazil. If new Golf and Beetle prove big successes, VW will suffer too and will need to produce locally.

        as to Nissan you are correct but Nissan has already signed a pact with Brazilian guv and their quota will rise as work on the factory in Rio progresses. But what is a Nissan sale if not a Renault sale?

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @Marcelo, I agree that Nissan has benefited from the Renault relationship. But now the Nissan half has the right products and the exposure to the right markets, and the Renault half does not, so Nissan is making money and Renault’s own operations are struggling to break even.

        Still, they are more integrated than Fiat-Chrysler, for example. and their European woes smaller, so I have confidence Ghosn will navigate them through the current downturn.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        @Marcelo, the Freemont and the 500 could be produced in Brazil but I don’t see that happening in their current form. Also, as far as I remember the mexican agreement quotas are set to end in a couple of years. Of course this is Brazil we are talking about, and everything is possible. You know what I’m talking about.

        The Freemont relies on a rather old platform, isn’t it? The Dodge Journey has been around for a while now, and its replacement must be at the very least being planned as we speak. Fiat is indeed working on crossoveer C-Evo derivatives to be sold under Jeep and possibly Fiat as well. That would be a car worth being nationalized.

        As for the 500, it’s long overdue.

        Nissan must get this deal up and running ASAP. The March simply vanished from Rio de Janeiro dealerships. The Versa is a rare find as well.

      • 0 avatar

        Viquitor, exactly old platform, tooling sent Brazil’s way. Voilà! New Freemont! 500 is offy and there’s debate in factory, but we could sadly end-up with a 500 Classic as others move on. But people I’ve spoken to say this harder for 500 than for Freemont. Anyways, they are expanding factory in Betim, Pernambuco is on again. When Pernambuco comes on-line, this might free up some space Betim form Freemont. Also, Freemont could end up in Córdoba thoug I doubt it. However, I really think, from what I hear, in at most 2 years Freemont is ‘national’.

        As to Nissan, it’s not just Rio. In BH buy a March now, get one when the next boat comes! Same with Versa. Problem is they never know when that is. But Cobalt is like this, so is Ka, old Fiesta. Just some cars I’ve looked into reccently. Seems Palios are easy to get !

        How is Sandero automatic coming? Got it? In BH I always see Logans automatics available, Sandero never.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        Nope, couldn’t find an automatic Sandero with the right pricetag on it. I could get a hold of a few automatic Logans, but in the end of the day I want a car that doesn’t look like a taxicab. I’m now thinking about the HB20 but that too is going to take months to land on my driveway.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re absolutely right th009.THing is, I for one, have started thinking of Renault-Nissan as a unit. I believe Ghosn does, too. So even if Renault is cut back to just Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, from the Renault-Nissan perspective, it really doesn’t matter.

      What do you think? Do you agree with me or do you think I’m jumping the gun on this point?

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @Marcelo, I think the full Nissan-Renault integration/merger is being held back only by politics. Effectively Ghosn is running them as one, with some constraints. The European crisis might give him an opening to change that, though.

        As to cutting pruning geographic coverage, it would really make sense as a short-medium term action, until the company (and the world economy) is stronger. Focus the efforts where they will bear the most fruit.

  • avatar
    pegasus

    One can understand the interest and even fascination that a C6 (which was essentialty a rebodied 1999 Peugeot 607 with a diferent suspension) might generate among enthusiasts in the States. I think it is a bit like say a Cadillac STS or a Town Car to us in Europe in a sense that it has an aura of “uniqueness”, something from the other side of the ocean that we imagine owning/driving if we lived there.
    The French presence in the high-end of the market is not sustainable; either with more ambitious models (C6, Renault Vel Satis) or more conventional (607, Safrane). It´s the same fate for Ford, GM (Opel) or the Italians (Alfa, Lancia), even for Volvo (look at how “forgotten” is the S80). When the time to put cash on line comes, the majority of buyers will pick Merc/Audi/BMW for not that much more (equivalent engine, reasonable options), satisfy their image and be assured that the residual value is much higher.

  • avatar
    Joss

    The DS and CX though advanced for their day were expensive to build and export to NA. The DS lacked either a 6 or 8 and a proper automatic for the NA market. Bumper height legislation saw-off sales of the CX with its ride height suspension – holy merde didn’t they see that coming..?. The SM was too fringe and impractical for family buyers.

    Why does Citroen and other French manufacturers lag in suitable powertrain development for the NA market? Because of the historic French taxation system on passenger cars where more cylinders fall into a higher tax bracket for the French buyer. It never enabled French manufacturers to develop a positive brand name in NA as it gave no incentive for the development of larger displacement engines this market desired for the price.

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      The truth is, NA is a lot more important as a market now than 10 years ago. Just yesterday there was a post here at TTAC about BMW shifting units that were destined to China and Europe to the US.

      For a long time Peugeot and Citroën lived quite a nice life out of Europe alone. They were in such a comfort zone that they didn’t even bothered to put out solid entries in the BRICs. They are also-rans in the emerging markets, and that’s not by chance.

      Renault, in the other hand, has a strong US presence since the deal with Nissan. The Dacia Logan’s B0 platform is now a part of NA’s landscape, and is selling in quite decent numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @Viquitor, if you re-read the BMW story, the units were shifted FROM Europe TO US AND China. Automotive sales in China are much stronger than those in the US, there is no question that China is now the #1 marketplace. The US auto sales are somewhat above Europe’s at the moment, but China is about 30% higher.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        @th009 Yes, right you are. Sorry, my bad. My point is, PSA doesn’t enjoy a global present the way it should.

    • 0 avatar
      pegasus

      Good point about the powertrains. Their biggest petrol-powered V6 was a 3 litre with about 200 bhp.

      IMO from the current line-up of French cars, these are the ones that maybe could a have a chance in the U.S market if properly promoted and backed up by a decent dealer network (quite hard to achieve with their currrent financial status):

      Citroen DS3 – alternative to the Fiat 500, maybe the MINI (shares its 1.6 turbo engine)
      Citrone DS4 – same 1.6 turbo (up tp 200 bhp), more upscale than Focus/Civic, smaller than an ILX
      Citroen C5 – family saloon, getting a bit old (2008), but still distinctive; 1.6 turbo and diesels up to 240 bhp; great looking estate
      Citroen DS5 – Mazda5 with flair

      Peugeot 508 – C5 in a diferent body

      Remault – rebadge the Renaultsport Megane 265 as a Nissan (they´re exchanging badges evreywhere in the world, so why not?; very serious Focus ST and GTI rival

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Hmmm…Perhaps it’s a cultural thing as well, that German and Japanese car companies are better than the French OEMs. My stereotyping comes out a bit as I think French: wine, cheese, breads, pastry and heavy sauces and culture, as in art, not automobiles.

    I just don’t see them as industrialist, the TGV very high speed train, notwithstanding.

    Am I to be crucified for saying that? I hope not, as I mean nothing personal, but French cars have never done well in the USA, speaking provincially, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Angus McClure

      I was going to comment but it seems that what I wanted to say link well with ZM and Viquitor above. I don’t know anything about French cars. When I was a kid a good many years ago, Renault still sold here and I suppose the other French did as well. My closest association is knowing that Renault is now somehow bound with Nissan. I have owned several Nissan vehicles so I suppose my engine and many other parts may be somewhat French. Perhaps I can blame them for the constantly blowing head gasket on my NAPSZ24.

      I don’t think I am in any way out of the ordinary. If you are Canadian you probably should be somewhat familiar with the French. In the United States, they pulled out years ago (as did the Italians). We have been an important market for years and now generations of our citizens think of French (as ZM states above) in cases of cheese, wine etc.

      They may have had very good reasons for leaving and I am sure they did. However, it seems that now they reaping whatever fruits were gained from their departure.

    • 0 avatar

      French Airbus is Boeing’s only competitor and France makes Arian rockets which one of the most competitive in the world (until US private companies mature) and it is the only European country which has aerospace industry. French may not as good in mass production of industrial goods as Japanese, but Americans are not good either. I understand that Germans and Japanese were not allowed to develop rockets and airplanes so car were only area they were allow to excel.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        I think the Germans would disagree with your characterization of Airbus as French — it has as many employees and production facilities in Germany as France, and a good share (15%) of employees in Britain as well.

        And the Ariane is manufactured by EADS Astrium, another part of the same multinational conglomerate (EADS) as Airbus. Headquartered, incidentally, in the Netherlands.

      • 0 avatar

        It does not matter what Germans think. Americans also think that Toyota is an American company just because they make some parts and assembly in US. But it does not change the fact that it is pure Japanese company. Ford also is not European or Mexican company just because it has plants and development there. Ask French what they think.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    One thing I’ve never understood about PSA is their insistence on keeping two marques that compete with each other. Rather than two brands trying to do everything from micro cars to executive sedans, Peugeot should be selling cheap/mid-market cars and Citroen should specialize in luxury.

    Citroen has the pedigree (DS, SM, Traction Avant, etc.) to build on, and they’re in FRANCE for god’s sake! These people invented fine dining and the five-figure handbag but can’t make a competitive luxury car? Status-conscious Chinese and Americans would flock to “Chanel Edition” Citroens if they were clearly and exclusively marketed as luxury vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “One thing I’ve never understood about PSA is their insistence on keeping two marques that compete with each other.”

      The Citroen acquisition that led to the creation of PSA was engineered by the French government. The goal was to have two wholly separate brands with synergy, not a tiered branding strategy. In other words, it’s a job maintenance program, not just a business.

      This looks like a legacy cost of sorts. This is how they’ve always done it, and this is how they’re going to keep doing it until the business hits the wall.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Citroën may well be the stronger brand, but Peugeot bought them — not the other way around. And the Peugeot family apparently still owns 30% of the company.

  • avatar
    jnik

    Seems the Europeans are finding out what we Americans knew years ago: French cars (and Italian cars back then) were just not competitive. The fact that France and Italy restricted imports made their respective car companies successful at home, but they just couldn’t cut it in more competitive markets. Now it’s hit home. People have a choice now, and they are choosing better cars than they could before.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The French need to simply pack all of the car and focus they have on the suspension, and use it to build a gas V8 engine. Also, might be a good idea to let GM handle the electrics.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    A beacon of candor and former corporate executive? Retired lackey that went along to get ahead who’s just now speaking out now,since its fashionable? Hey,I’m just aksin’. I only keep up on French movies.Either way, the Citroen C6 is f*#@^n’ gangsta.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I don’t know if a ‘non car-guy’ at the top is really the problem for French manufacturers, as their cars is pretty nice enough. I think they’re simply spoiled by their domestic, protected market, and thus are never serious enough in other market. Thus their effort in other parts of the world is typically characterized by poor marketing efforts, cars that are not tailored for the specific market’s preference, lack of after sales, service, parts, etc., and thus are destined to be a niche models at best. Any car makers, even the vaunted Toyota, would fail if they do business that way. Toyota used to do that when they first came to the US in the 1950s, but they learned real quick, and now they’re king, not just in the US, but in many other countries around the world.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    I guess I should’ve read the whole thread before making my comment further up. To reiterate, the French market isn’t any more protected than the German market. They’re both part of the European Common market and have been for a long time. That German car companies are doing better globally must have other reasons.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    The French(like the English and the Americans) thinks that France is the center of the universe. If French cars are not selling outside France. then it must be something wrong with people in the rest of the world, not the cars.

  • avatar

    As to leadership, they have a point. Marchionne and Ghosn have done a terrific job keeping their respective companies afloat. Renault-Nissan has proven successful despite all the negative expectation. Chrysler is keeping Fiat afloat like Fiat kept Chrysler a lifeline and allowed the Chrysler turnaround.

    The thing is in this industry everything takes time. And when your hit by a specific set of circumstances you just have to weather it and prepare for the next time. Honda and Toyota were seen as being in a weak position when the US market imploded. They’re trying to strengthen their position in BRIC markets for example to bettwr resist next time around. toyota in particular see,s to have taken these lessons to heart.

    Will Europe stay on the decline? How Long? If Europe implodes PSA seems a goner, but Renault and Fiat will live one due to their presence elsewhere.

    PSA will soon have its 301 sedan out to compete with the Dacias-Renaults of the world. That car will allow them to live to fight another day. Or not. That’s how crucial this car is.

    I believe the Peugeot family has finally seen the light. The question is whether or not they’ll be able to pull a Mullaly.

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      Marcelo, I like you take on things. I believe it’s not too late for Peugeot to bring the planned X01 family to the BRICs. Or maybe I just want to believe.

      Anyway, Quatro Rodas’s latest issue has a picture of a so-called 201 prototype, that would be the first lovechild of GM and Peugeot. The article goes on following the usual Quatro Rodas lack of commitment with editorial excelence and even the truth. In their parallel universe, the 201 could just be called 108 because it’s “set to replace” the 107. But they know that it’s no 107 replacement but a lowcost subcompact for the BRICs that might not ever see european shores.

      But I ramble.

      My point is, Peugeot is still a major european player that lacks a strong international presence, and that must change really fast. If Europe gets any worse as a market, Peugeot indeed is a goner.

      • 0 avatar

        Oi Viquitor! I too hope Peugeot can get their act together. ‘Cause like you I know how good they used to be. Time is of the essence right now. Their small CUV has to get here yesterday. And to have a chance in Brazil it’d need to undercut both Duster and EcoSport on price.

        There’s an article on TTAC today that shows how the 201 is just a pipedream. If it ever come to fruition we are talking 2015. Too late!

        I agree. QR is a joke for the most part!

  • avatar
    Invalidattitude

    Lack of ambition? O’realy? Just look at the diesel-hybrid DS5, its innovative inside-out. The 208 makes the Polo a complete laughing stock. Only problem here is the lack of BRIC market share. While the Germans and the FIAT sell bazzzillions of outdated POS in China and Brazil, the French are nowhere…

    • 0 avatar

      Things are changing. Renault now commands 7% of the market in Brazil and are growing. Partner Nissan has 3% and is poised to grow. In fact, Renauolt could soon strip Ford of 4th place in the market and in 2 yrs Nissan should be breathing down Ford’s neck. All in all the comany now has 10%.

      Renault-Nissan-Lada also have a strong presence in Russia and Eastern Europe. What they can’t seem to crack is India and China but they have Nissan for that.

      PSA on the other hand can barely break 4%. They’re also not strong in any of the other BRICs.


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