By on March 7, 2013

A bit of light reading for everyone wishing they were in Geneva, munching on some pain au chocolat while paying $8 for a Nespresso. CAR magazine contributor Stephen Bayley has a very entertaining essay entitled “The End of the French Car“, in which he laments the demise of the quirky, compact French automobile.

Bayley’s thesis is that once France lost it’s cultural capital, the cars began their inevitable decline

When did the decline start ?  Back in those first paragraph student days, I could sit on a train for thirty-six hours to Madrid and have for company only my French philosophers and the latest copy of Auto Journal with all its fabulous news of new French cars with oleo-pneumatic suspension and strange seating arrangements.  Who can say whether it was cause or effect, but when French culture as a whole lost its authority, the cars became boring.  Who reads Sartre today ?  Exactly.

Sure, the death of the Citroen C6 was a bit of a turning point; the large French luxury sedan with superb ride quality and great design (and admittedly, not much else) had finally lost any relevance in the wider marketplace. But I’m not so sure that it’s time to bury French cars for good.

The Renault 4 and Citroen 2CV that Bayley venerates are no longer with us, but in their place, we have the Dacia. Not as quirky or memorable, sure, but designed to fulfill the same promise of cheap transportation for those who may not have been able to afford a new car. The Peugeot 205 GTI may be dead, but just around the corner, there is a Peugeot 208 Hybrid with a two-cylinder engine that will hit 60 mph in about 8 seconds (roughly the same as a 205 GTI, maybe a bit quicker, depending on who you ask) and weighs a couple hundred pounds less than the 205.  If anything, the demise of French cars won’t come from a lack of competent product, but market forces that have little to do with the cars themselves.

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104 Comments on “The End Of The French Car...”


  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “The glorious hauteur of France was once revealed in its cars. As soon as I could afford it, I bought a Citroen GS. In this car you had to remove the entire engine to replace a spark plug.”

    It is obvious that this is not a “competent product.”

    • 0 avatar

      That depends on your metric of competency, I suppose. Perhaps we are talking about an “interesting product” here moreso than a competent one.

      • 0 avatar
        Hector

        I think his bluster about having to remove the GS’s engine to replace the spark plugs is nonsense, but its flat four enginee layout does render it an awkward job.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Competency is easy (look at any Ford truck)- quirkiness takes imagination. All cars- French, German, American- are BORING- the only interesting cars are Kei cars and a few models from Kia- which is strange, when you think about it, since a beautiful body doesn’t cost more than a boring body; interesting motors aren’t necessarily less efficient than standard engines; innovation doesn’t HAVE to cost more or be more difficult to produce (especially with the advent of 3-D printers).

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    In the mid-60s, a relative who had worked for a few years in France brought back a Peugeot 404.

    It wasn’t really a beautiful car, but its styling did attract strangers to chat with my relative about the car.

    In those pre-ultra-globalization days, it was indeed an amusing car, with distinct styling, a purring engine and mysterious gauges with labels like “Eau”.

    • 0 avatar

      The styling attracted strangers because it IS a beautiful car, not surprising given the styling by Pininfarina. It also handled extremely well for cars of that era, and was tough. My parents got theirs soon after we arrived in Paris for the year, in August 1965. I took my first legal drive in that car, 35 miles from the RMV in Hyannis, Mass to our summer place in Wellfleet, 35 miles of pure bliss, slightly short of four years later. Of all the cars my parents had in my youth, that’s the one I’d love to still have.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It wasn’t a bad looking car, even if it probably looked old upon introduction in 1960, but calling it beautiful should be reserved for its delusional mother. Pininfarina’s success was such that many European cars looked just like the 404, the Fiat 1800 beating it to market by a year with the same skin. It was a box with a few dated Detroit styling cues, no matter how good the emperor looked naked.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    If the French stopped making cars, would anyone notice?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The French certainly would…

    • 0 avatar

      I would. All of South America would. The Magrehb, Iran. Europeans, Eas and West.

      Even you in America would as you’d no longer get any French car in Japanese kimonos.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        Just curious… but what would those be?

        • 0 avatar

          Nissan Versa and Tiida, Juke. Nissan’s 1.6 engines and 5 speed manuals.

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            I’m not sure how the Versa or Juke are French… they’re made in Japan, Indonesia, UK, Mexico, Malaysia, China and Taiwan- depending on the model. Sure, they both have different names in different markets, but that doesn’t make them French. Apart from the name, they’re as Japanese to us Americans as they are to the French. The Japanese aren’t much on badge engineering either once you factor out the Acura/Lexus/Infiniti nameplates.

            Maayyybe the engines/transmissions, but I don’t have time to look that up.

          • 0 avatar

            Versa sits on Nissan’s V platform. Though they don’t like to admit it, that platform is a revision of Renault’s B platform that underpins the current Euro Clio. Platform that has also given rise to the BO platform underneath the Dacia line. As to the tiida all you have to do is look at profile and check out the so called hard points that’ll you see an uncanny resemblence to the Sandero.

            Juke was designed by Nissan’s London office. Most of the engineering for the car was done in France though. I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve read the 4×4 system is directly lifted from the Kangoo 4×4 that won some world rally championship or other. So Renault was long at work on the mechanicals of the car before Nissan came in. So the Juke is one of the first fruits of the Renault-Nissan alliance.

            The collaboration goes both ways. In Brazil the Renault Fluence uses Nissan’s 2.0 engines and CVT for example. I’m not really sure, but IIRC the Duster uses an old Nissan 4 speed auto trans.

            As time goes on this will only deepen. Check out an article on TTAC by Bertel on the subject. The quiet giant or some such. M Ghosn’s strategy is to keep the success of this alliance under the radar for some reason. Again, IIRC Renault-Nissan is now the world’s 4th largest car maker (though they report their numbers seperately).

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            I consider myself enlightened if all of this is true.

          • 0 avatar

            The extent of the collaboration and exactly who does what is something for internal consumption. In Brazil for example, all of Nissan’s marketing on their nifty little car, the March, is based on the car’s Japanese-ness. The tagline is something like, “A Japanese car you can have!” All the while the car is riding along on its 1.0 16v Renault engine, 5 speed Renault gear box, though to be honest it does seems that the computer management on the car is Nissan’s. When you drive it back to back with the Brazilian Clios, they feel slightly different with the Nissan being more sporty and “young” and the Clio more comfortable and “adult”.

            Another example, Nissan is building their own dedicated factory in Brazil. However, their Livina car is built at Renault’s factory in Brazil. The Livina is yet another French car in Japanese clothing.

            I suggest that if you really want to dig deeper on this you read sources other than American ones. As American jourmalists have much greater access to Nissan than Renault, they’ll hear Nissan’s side.

            Anyway, as a car enthusiast this is interesting to us. Most people look at the cars and see no relationship. It’s a kind of badge engineering, but a sophisticated badge engineering that does not remind one of the Citation-Cimarron debacle. So far, it’s making both Nissan and Renault stronger, so that’s good I believe.

    • 0 avatar

      When production of the 2CV ceased, there was an obituary on the front page of the New York Times.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Who needs them anymore? The Koreans build cheap cars. The Germans build low quality cars, and just about everyone builds ugly cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      The Koreans only just started making cars 30 or so years ago so they don’t count in this discussion. Germany has a long history of making high quality, well engineered cars and respected for that everywhere so your statement is flatly wrong.
      If you think all cars are ugly then you are not a car enthusiast, so I would suggest you go find a blog site closer to your interests.

      • 0 avatar
        andyinatl

        To CJinSD quality means plastastic (yes, i just made this word up) japanese interior with molded seams to make it look like it’s leather (ala latest Camry), or an ugly split rattle-prone dashboard of a latest Civic.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          The dash of our leased 2012 A6 rattles under the right side of the instrument panel. The stylish bezel seems to have warped after a year. At least it distracts from the warning messages that are back on a week after the latest dealer visit. That’s what I mean by low quality. Do the 2013 Civics rattle? I’ve ridden in a couple 2012s that don’t, nor does my 2007.

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            Imagine CJ is Cincinnati, without a single problem Honda in his life. I mean you used to just be a Honda Shrill, but now its political ramblings/conspiracies as well, really wouldn’t “The Truths One Wants to Hear About Honda and Obama is Hitler” be more appropriate?

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        @ Beerboy-
        I have yet to read a review of any German branded car that is gleaming in any stretch of the imagination, within the last 2 years or so. It seems that German cars *used to* hold quality and efficiency as paramount. Now, they seem to be letting things slide in a big way.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          Even TTAC has favorably reviewed German cars. The last one was a few days ago (BMW 7) and it did not question the quality at all. There were some questions about relevance but not quality.
          Perhaps you need to broaden your scope of review reading.

      • 0 avatar
        noxioux

        Please. If it’s a car, German, and out of it’s warranty period, it’s probably broken, and depreciating faster than last summer’s new-release Blu-Rays.

    • 0 avatar

      My family needs them. Since my Dad bought that first Renault about 15 yrs ago, 9 of the roughly 15 cars bought were French.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      I cannot rec CJ’s post highly enough. Not to hijack the thread, but these bleeping Euro pedestrian standards have destroyed styling worldwide, all to save a few winos staggering across autobahns or something. Can’t the EU just pass a law requiring that pedestrians wear airbags? I mean, Lord knows what design disasters lie ahead when they figure out cars kill thousands of pets, or millions of flying insects every year?
      /rant

      • 0 avatar
        Mullholland

        Thank you for that post. Pedestrian impact mitigation my ass. It’s the best reason to fight any sort of “one-world” regulation design/production specification system. And what the hell happens to the front of my pick up truck?

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        There are many, many factors that influence modern car design. Pedestrian safety requires a flatter and higher nose that should not be a problem for trucks but is tricky for smaller cars. Two other factors are aerodynamics and space utilization for smaller cars. These factors are global and not specific to Europe.
        Also, There really is eff all you can do about pedestrian safety on the autobahn but still… It’s not OK to kill a pedestrian ever, no matter how drunk they might be.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          I’m more troubled about the rooflines on new pickups. They’ll put a front-end from a diesel locomotive on a truck while increasingly slanting the A-pillar and squashing the green house?

          Hideous and suffocating to me.

          • 0 avatar

            Have you seen the new global Ranger? There’s one parked outside my window now. You’ll probably “love” it.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @Marcelo

            Exactly.

            You know, I’m starting to see a kinda metaphysical sense of humor going on here….

            I started out with no $$ and worked for whatever I have. So now I’m where I can afford any reasonable new vehicle only to find the entire industry going in directions I despise.

            Whatever… I had several great, practical trucks in the past. I really don’t *need* one now and I just won’t accept this modern mutated garbage.

          • 0 avatar

            @Summicron,

            LOL! It does happen that way, doesn’t it. I’ve talked to at least 2 millionaires who drove the likes of BMW and Mercedes. After a couple of them it just becomes a car. I asked them what they’re favorite cars were and the confessed that they cherished their old Beetles and Fiats from when they were starting. I think it’s the memories and being young and all.

            Anyway, I believe Tomas Jefferson got it right when he talked about the pursuit of happiness. Very difficult to define that, but seems to be the case that when you’ve captured that happiness, a void comes over or something.

            Ok, I’ll stop now.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @Marcelo

            Again, exactly.
            If I could have my solid little ’70 Volvo 144 or 1973 F-150 again in new condition…

            Something about being under 30 and keeping stuff running with your own sweat and guile makes them sweeter in retrospect.

    • 0 avatar

      @CJinSD, about 10 above:
      +1, and 10 more points for the comment about ugly cars. It’s incredible how ugly cars are today.

    • 0 avatar
      AMC_CJ

      “The Koreans build cheap cars. The Germans build low quality cars, and just about everyone builds ugly cars.”

      Lol, best post here. And truthful.

      Oh, and GTI guy or whatever. We got a Jetta that feels (and sounds) like it’s rattling apart going down the road. Last time I saw a interior fall apart so quickly it was in a 94′ Camaro. Looked like a great little car when new, but hasn’t held up to time well, or is very reliable to boot. That’s pretty much German cars in general, more so with VW. Great until about 100k. If it was worth anything we’d sell it, but it’s worth more as a commuter/beater for the wife and we’re not pressed for cash (plus I’ve put way too much work into it over the past year to sell it).

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        I know many people who have owned German cars (VW’s included) for all sorts of years and are still extremely happy… So whats your point AMC_CJ or whatever?

  • avatar
    discoholic

    To wit: In the UK and in Ireland, Citroen launched its latest C5 saloon (competing with the Audi A4 etc) with a marketing campaign (“Ich bin ein Dubliner”) that stressed the Germanicness of the car. Theoretically, Citroen should be (and should be positioned as) far and away the most French car maker in the world, stubbornly clinging to its hydropneumatic suspension (which, incidentally, gives the car the best ride this side of a Rolls-Royce Phantom), but they went out of their way to convince everyone that it’s really a VW Passat with a lower price. WTF?

    Then they went ahead and pissed away the legacy of the DS moniker – an automotive milestone literally decades ahead of its time if ever there was one. Today, they plaster “DS” on overpriced superminis and silly crossovers with the most intolerable ride in the world and with absolutely no point whatsoever.

    Surprised about the death of the French car, anyone?

    • 0 avatar

      +1, and No. Damn sorry, though.

      In the old days, the cars on the streets of France looked different from those in England or Italy or Austria… and totally different from those in the US. Now even France doesn’t look much different from anywhere else.

    • 0 avatar
      Slocum

      We drove a C5 rental for a week about a year ago — it was pretty damn nice. I have no idea about reliability or bang for the buck, but it was attractive and enjoyable to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      With the DS5 you also get a car that rides on the underpinning of the DS3. So no DS has hydropneumatic suspension, so sort of like ford releasing a mustang that’s a diesel SUV, saaaaaad as AP would say.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I think the same could be said for all countries and their unique car design. American cars are smaller, Japanese cars are bigger, English cars are Indian and German cars are… less German.
    The French were more unique than the rest though and so the trend is more pronounced.

  • avatar
    Neb

    I have no idea what the author means when he says “French culture lost it’s authority (which seems to mean Sartre was writing.) It’s not like Nietzsche and Heideigger were writing in the 1980s, and that’s what drove people to buy German cars. For that matter, in the 1960s Americans were building some brilliant cars but were, as Tom Wolfe once put it “a academic colony of Europe.”

    Like other people here have already said: the real story here is homogeneity blotting out what was once an interesting car culture. You might very well want to buy a French car, but you don’t want to buy a French copy of somebody else’s design; if you did, you’d just buy the original.

    • 0 avatar
      chimichanga

      Thanks for bringing this up Ned. This post (not Derek’s commentary) conflates two things. It’s about French cars, but it’s also about the civilizational “superiority” complex that French just can’t let go. Derek rightly mentions market forces, and you point to the trend in homogenization, which is very much an interesting discussion. I feel that here it’s lumped together with something else, as weird terms like “authority” betray.

  • avatar
    nvdw

    I disagree with Bayley’s thesis. The demise of the French car is simply a matter of the demise of their typical ‘home market’.

    The French market has long been in favor of locally built cars by levying taxes on imported cars and through a road tax system that was strongly suited towards French cars such as the 2CV (the name of that car is actually its tax band). Let us not forget that France also had its own quirky set of vehicle requirements, one of which was the compulsory fitting of yellow headlamps. All these things vanished when France became a member of the European Economic Community, now known as the EU. French manufacturers also thrived in other closed markets, such as Spain. Chrysler’s then European subsidiary (Simca) also built cars there (including a CKD Dodge Dart with a Barreiros diesel engine, but that’s another story).

    Also remember that the usual ‘comfort’ trait of any French car has its origins in the awful state of the French roads back in the day. Note that the 2CV’s suspension was not specifically engineered to absorb potholes in a road – but to cross a ploughed field!

    The French car manufacturers of today (to be honest, there are only three, of which two share a company) have to sell their stuff worldwide to make a profit AND compete with foreign products in their own country. That’s a whole different game than it was 40 to 50 years ago.

    The French car as Bayley knew it died once trade barriers ceased to exist. And to be honest, lots of French cars were catastrophically awful, too.

    • 0 avatar
      fabriced28

      This.
      Well summed up. As soon as marketers (and then, the market itself) decided that only a world car could turn a profit for a manufacturer, French cars (but also Italian and British ones with their own sense of quirkyness) were good for the necrology. US carmakers can still enjoy building purely american cars because the size is there and the car culture common throughout the US. But car culture in Europe differs in every country. Brits love open top kit cars, Italians revving machines and French love(d) their wonderful chassis, even the non-hydraulic ones. Germans, they love “world car” appliances, in both standard and premium form, and their industry is doing well, thank you.
      They should have stuck with their USP to thrive in a non-tariff market, and instead went the “world car” way. Until the DS-line which goes the “marketing-design” way (I do not know how this will fare).

      But Bayley is right in the sense that the French society that created and invented the iconic quirky cars was much mare daring and innovative than the one we have today. Reading Sartre was just an example, but a fair one. Different society, different managers in the companies, lead to different cars, not obviously to more benefits.

    • 0 avatar
      CrapBox

      This makes me want to cry. I have fond memories of travelling around France in a 2CV Fourgonnette. It was great fun, and you’re correct, its suspension could handle rough fields with aplomb.

  • avatar
    raincoaster

    One of my favourite car movies involves a French car as the auto-protagonist. The film is “Taxi” starring Sammy Naceri and a Peugeot 406 taxicab and it’s directed by Luc Besson. I can’t stand the American remake, but panther lovers may prefer Latifah and crown Vic to Naceri and 406.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      The best movie he’s in is Indigènes (Days of Glory), the opening scene is a guy running in Algeria shouting “we shall wash the french flag with our blood”. Good stuff.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Had this been a story about General Motors, it would have started with the obligatory screaming headlines denouncing the “bailout.”

    It appears that Peugeot is spewing $200 million a month in an arterial spray of red ink, even though it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the French government.

    http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/30/france-unveils-green-incentive-to-rescue-auto-industry/

    In Europe, they are as comfortable with a “socialized auto industry” as they are with socialized medicine.

    But this, after all, is an anti-GM website.

    Carry on.

    • 0 avatar

      Larry you must have missed the many articles outlining PSA’s mounting losses and de facto bailout via their finance arm

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/tag/psa/

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Troll

      • 0 avatar
        Piqutchi

        Remember when that word had more meaning than just a generic insult used towards people you don’t like or agree with?

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          This is an interesting and thought provoking article from Derek about changing car design, not Bailouts or GM bashing.
          I failed to see what this comment had to do with the original post. It’s off subject and raises controversial issues. My intention is not to insult but rather to draw attention to a troll like comment.
          Please don’t make assumptions about my feelings towards bailouts or GM… They have no place in this discussion.

          • 0 avatar

            Beerboy, thank you. GM, bailouts etc have nothing to do with this topic. Even if they did, there are endless articles about PSA’s finances and the EUs involvement.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    To succeed in the automotive marketplace in 2013 and beyond you have to:

    1. Be good. Really good. Really, *really* good.
    2. Be reliable. Really reliable. Really, *really* reliable.
    3. Be fashionable. Really fashionable. Really, *really* fashionable.
    4. Execute well. Really well. Really *really* well, on all fronts (sales, marketing, placement, dealership experience, service, after-sales support)

    Once you’ve got those four things mastered you need to give customers a reason to even consider your product. For years now it was easy to try America, be disappointed, then go Japanese. You could be young, go German, be disappointed, then go Japanese. You could even be Japanese, be happy, then try Korean because they offered better value since the Japanese were stubbornly clinging to the past.

    My point is this: all of the established players have gotten really, *really* good at points 1 – 4 and more importantly, the established players are demonstrating their ability to learn from previous mistakes and improve. Quickly.

    To be an unknown, new brand, or one without a strong identity and following, is to face an immense mountain. It’s not to say you cannot succeed (think Kia and Hyundai), but the fight will require years, lots of investment dollars, and likely some luck that one of your primary competitors is going to screw up along the way and give you an opening.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree on your points, but for a world market, I’d substitute the reliability point for ease and cheapness of fixing. Here in Brazil, Fiat and VW outsell Chevy and Ford on that alone. The French have not made it so big, though Renault is growing, cause of that.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    I’ve always loved the look of those little Angry-Lego Renaults.
    Isn’t that a Gordini?

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    You’d never guess it today, but there were a few years in the mid to late 1950′s when Renault was the best selling import in the U.S. This early success was squandered by reliability issues and shoddy dealer support and customer service.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      How much of Renault’s share of the import market was simply down to France wussing out of the war? Their industrial facilities weren’t as decimated as England’s, and there was obvious resistance to many other imports caused by fresh resentments.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        A lot of French and Italian industry was damaged in the war by both sides. The best example of a European nation’s industry surviving the war largely intact would be Czechoslovakia.

      • 0 avatar
        silverkris

        This doesn’t explain, however, how French cars became widespread in Africa.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Afrique Occidentale Française. France knew exploitation colonies.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nobody did it better than the Belgians.

            http://en.wikipedia DOT org/wiki/Congo_Free_State

            This is a great read on the subject:

            http://en.wikipedia DOT org/wiki/King_Leopold%27s_Ghost

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You’ve got to admit it is hilarious that Peugeot and the other French manufacturers have managed to spin their presence in Africa into some sort of reflection of desirability. It would be like Mississippi claiming that their relatively high percentage of black citizens is the result of their appeal to African travelers.

        • 0 avatar
          Advance_92

          French post-colonial politics bound African countries much tighter than with the UK’s Commonwealth. Most infrastructure (particularly phone lines) were built and routed through France. Most national currencies were tied to the Franc as well. It was a natural expansion to relocate production of old yet still serviceable car designs to these countries.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        Oh such informed opinions one can encounter on the internet. The quarter of million dead civilian French and the quarter of a million French soldiers and resistance members that died surly were “wussing out”.

  • avatar
    sti2m3

    How about the Renault Megane RS 265 8:08?

    (Link to Aussie site since it’s the only English site I can find).

    http://www.renault.com.au/cars/megane-RS265-trophy-808/home

  • avatar
    Pan

    I’ve missed French cars for years, given that my first car was a Renault Dauphine , slow but steady. I also had a Renault R16, a long-legged comfortable car with the carrying capacity of an suv.
    The best car I ever drove was the Citroen DS21. Even today, if I had to make a dash from Ottawa to Vancouver, my car of choice would be the Cit.
    So, Au Revoir,mes Voitures Francaises. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

    • 0 avatar

      Why? Renault-Nissan are growing. They’re one of the few makers with a real world wide presence. Renault: Europe (East, West); South America; North and West Africa; Middle East; India; Russia. Nissan: Japan, North and Central America, China, Southeast Asia, a couple of hits in Europe, too. They have the wrold covered.

      Bertel did a recent article on Renault-Nissan and how the future looks bright for them. They are present in growth markets. They have the low cost car formula down. They’re working on an even cheaper car to crack ever bigger markets.

      If anything the time to buy Renault and Nissan stock is now. They’ll be growing in the coming years.

      As to PSA that’s another story. But the 301 is just coming now to third world. The 208 is already making waves in Europe. The 2008 is coming soon. They are a big question. Renault is a safe bet.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    I’m not so sure about French cars…the one I had wasn’t that great…*but* I would take a flood of Citroens and Peugeots any day over Japanese cars. Could we have a Cash for Japanese Clunkers where we replace your Camry with a Citroen? That’d be so (seaux?) rad.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    My Citroen C5 was destroyed on Wednesday. Rear ended by a 2 ton BMW X5 and pushed into a 2 ton Pajero it was written off. I was mightily impressed that my wife was unhurt (driving) and all four doors open fine and maintain the original panel gaps. The front and rear crumple zones worked perfectly. The car is gone but it was the most loved of our cars. How can we replace it? No other car values comfort, silence and ride quality over power and handling at a reasonable price. I will really, really miss that Citroen.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Uh, didn’t Renault and Peugeot skedaddle from the US during Reagan’s first term? There’s a difference between listening to the 80′s station and pining for a weird French car.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Peugeot pulled the plug in 1991, late in Bush 41′s term, but Renaults were last sold as Renaults during Reagan’s 2nd term.

      I must admit that as a teenager I thought it a shame that the import world was being dominated by the Japanese. Oh to have driven in the ’70s, when there were still Lancias, Citroens, Alfa-Romeos, Renaults that weren’t made in Kenosha, cheap Porsches, Austin-Healeys, Triumphs, and Mini-Coopers in the classifieds! Looking back, I knew less than nothing about cars. There’s a lot of that going around.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Fiat and Lancia skedaddled near the end of Reagan’s first term.

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    I love my little 206, and the Scenic dad drives is not so bad either. My next car will probably be a 208.

    • 0 avatar

      Oi Viquitor! Qto tempo!

      Gave up the search for an auto Sandero?

      Just curious here and not knocking you in anyway, how’s the 206 doing? How old? How many km? I always loved the 205 and the 206 is sweet. I like the 3008, and I always liked the 307 (in whatever body style), the 308 sure looks nice. THe 405 always intigued me though the 407 and 408 are not as good. But my brother had a 307 SW and many friends had 206s and their not so stellar stories have always kept me away from Peugeot. Maybe you can help me overcome my fear?

      Anyways, the 208 is shaping up like a real winner, albeit a tad expensive. It sure is a looker though and the engine seems like a dream. If you do buy it, pls keep us informed!

      Abraço cara.

      • 0 avatar

        Marcelo I don’t have your email, send it to me

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        Grande Marcelo!

        My 206 is a 2005 1.0 16v. It is powered by a Renault unit, just like any other 1-litre Brazilian Pug. It has 132 thousand kms on it, and is still working like a clock. I love it, but I would love to get beefier suspension parts.

        The Sandero will be refreshed later this year, so it might not be the best purchase. Also, the 208 is a looker both inside and out.

        This is the only Pug I`ve ever had, and more than once I have found myself pissed at maintenance costs. But on the other hand no small car is better finished and better equipped. I should have gone for the 1.6 16v, but the 1.0 16v works just fine in Rio de Janeiro traffic. Also it is quite frugal.

        Abs cara!

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Saw the newly elected French president Hollande parading in the back of some Renault POS last May after his election. I don’t think I’ve ever felt embarrassed for a world leader before. Charles De Gaulle wouldn’t be caught within thirty feet of a car like that.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      Nah, he rolled around at 80 mph in DS that was unarmored so it could go faster and handle better. And it worked, too!

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        De Gaulle narrowly missed being ambushed in his motorcade by a crazed soldier disgusted with Algerian independence.

        “Riding in his car down the Avenue de la Liberation, De Gaulle’s vehicle was suddenly sprayed with machine gun fire as it sped through the streets of Paris at 70 miles per hour.

        Though the attack killed two policemen, shattered the rear window of his Citroen, and took all out all four tires, his driver managed to get away with the President and his wife unharmed.”

        Supposedly, after it was over, De Gaulle got out of the car,dusted the broken glass off his uniform and impassively remarked, “such poor shots”

        Try that in a Renault.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Are we to assume in order to save the french car France must become more isolationist?

    De Gaulle survived assassination in a Citroen. Kennedy didn’t in a Lincoln. Americans have more guns so are better shots? Nothing to do with Citroen or Lincoln being better. Today both are spent brands IMO.

    The French tax system couldn’t evolve a decent 6 or 8 for the lucrative luxury market. The Germans have always understood brand image. When roused France burns cars.

  • avatar
    Augie the Argie

    Only if I had a chance today to take my kids in a 8 seat SW à la 504/505 or Nevada….

  • avatar
    Peter

    This discussion is making me sad.I wish I had been of car-buying age back when cars represented unique solutions to local challenges and conditions: fins and V8s, air cooled and hanging off the back, front wheel drive and hydropneumatics, ash frames and Whitworth threads. Now I think we’re heading toward vehicles that represent solutions on a planetary scale. That is why everything is starting to look the same.

    I’m going to go give my Citroen a hug now.

  • avatar
    lutecia

    I’ve always like Renaults. Last year I lost my mind and bought a 2008 Prius. The best car purchase decision I’ve ever taken. So I sold it last month and got myself another Renault, a 2007 Mégane. Manual, petrol, with nice leather seats and electrical failure (rear windows are on general strike) but the chassis is really good, and the comfort is OMG.

    Now, I’m not so sure about Peugeot-Citroen stategy, but I don’t worry at all for Renault. First they have Carlos Goshn, and his alliance strategy with Nissan that is working slowly but surely. Dacia addition is brilliant. The only question would be about the Frenchness of Renault, and in general on the fact that middle class are shrinking, so there are Premium and Low-costs cars, but the Renault buyer base is just disapearing.

    They have a decent designer now (see latest Clio, Captur, Zoe). And for the last few years they have become truly reliable.

    Now they have a man on charge for the past year or so, called Carlos Tavares. Remember that name!

    This man is a Renault nut, and that will save the brand (its identity). First he ditched the Gordini revival that was made 3 years ago and criticized by the enthousiasts (these were just glorified Renault Sport models).
    Gordini will come back soon, but completely differently, as more hardcore track versions of the Renault Sport range.

    He’s making Alpine coming back, with the partnership with Catheram. And Alpine is going to be at the 2013 24 hours of Le Mans (probably first through heavy sponsoring/light engineering as I can see a serious project built in few months time).

    He will also refresh the “Initiale Paris” brand (luxury trim of current Renault models), it will be the answer to Citroen’s DS line.

    The fact that this guy is a Renault enthousiast means that he undestands the cultural part of the brand, and take the right decisions. I think he will make sure Renaults will keep their “Frenchness”.

  • avatar
    james65

    Things are moving : http://www.french-cars-in-america.com/


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  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
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