Renault Hasn't Learned to Surrender, "Itching" to Return to U.S.

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
renault hasn t learned to surrender itching to return to u s

In uncharacteristic style for anything French, Renault wants to expand into new territory. Still. They are “itching to get back into the U.S.,” according to a Wall Street Journal report. Despite a 55 percent drop in stock value this year and rumblings about Carlos Ghosn possibly stepping down from his dual-CEO post, someone at Renault thinks it might be a nice idea to return to the U.S. market. And it might be nice for Scarlett Johansson to tell me the next time she’s going to elope with someone better looking, funnier, taller and richer than I am. But as the philosopher Jagger said, you can’t always get what you want (credit to David Shore for that line). Nissan’s already slumping in The Land of the Free. Renault’s current lineup can’t meet U.S. EPA and crash standards which are different (though not necessarily better) than the Euro NCAP variety. Renault’s diesels wouldn’t have a prayer here without expensive testing or licensing the Bluetec system from Mercedes. And there’s the dealer/distribution problem, which can’t be magically solved by a hypothetical perfect Chrysler tie-up. And then there’s the whole “Americans don’t buy French” thing. And it’s all too bad, because I would love a Renault. But with even Renault saying that they would need to develop three new models specifically for the American market, you’ve got to wonder why the hell they’d bother.

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4 of 13 comments
  • Jimmy2x Jimmy2x on Oct 06, 2008

    "Renault should bring back the Dauphine. It’s well remembered in the US for luxury features, solid heavy-duty design, performance, reliability and durability. Or lack thereof." A '59 Dauphine was one of two cars that I learned to drive on. Pencil thin floor shifter (3-speed) that you literally had to feel your way into gear with. You certainly could not tell anything by looking at it. Only benefit was good gas mileage and some sort of plastic floor covering that made it easy to clean up spilled beer.

  • Mirko Reinhardt Mirko Reinhardt on Oct 07, 2008

    However stupid bringing Renault to the USA would be, it's not as stupid as Renault-Nissan's other plan - bringing Infiniti to Europe. Currently delayed, because dealer interest is approximately zero.

  • Glen Director Glen Director on Jan 15, 2009

    My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend a day driving a RenaultSport Clio 197 in anger around the Nurburgring. Let me tell you, if that particular Renault was to come to the USA they would not be able to keep up with demand. There is NOTHING close to this car and price point Stateside. I'm a complete hack on the track but this little 197 was so much fun. My Clio 197 day at the Nurburgring was one of the best days of my life. On my last lap, in the rain, I passed 3 Porsches, one Ferrari and a Lotus Exige S. If this car was available in the USA I would sell everything I have to buy one.

  • FieldMarshal FieldMarshal on May 22, 2011

    I just came back from France/Germany, where I drove a Renault Kangoo for 21 days. I'm 6'5" tall, and I selected this car on the Eurodrive website, sight unseen, except I chose it for its overall height. And WoW, did that ever work out. Headroom, shoulder room, legroom, seat height as well as back & forth ADJUSTABLE. For a smallish van-like vehicle, this Kangoo fit the bill for THREE travelers and our luggage. And the small diesel engine got 54MPG combined city/hwy!! 5 speed manual shifted flawlessly, and while the small diesel engine was no powerhouse, it sailed along at 80mph just fine -- and I had it up at 90 once or twice. This would be the Renault people would buy here in the USA. It is SO utilitarian with it's enormous back hatch door, and two levels of luggage space. I wanted to buy the one we drove, but they said the paperwork would take three weeks, and anyway, the price they quoted was outrageous. For all that europe has to offer for the touring foreigner, there is something drastically wrong with the EU, the value of the euro, and the exchange rate. It must be the socialism taxation system that's got everything f___ed up ! Bob in San Francisco