With Peugeot-Citroen Eyeing New Markets, Could There Be a French Car in Your Future?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
with peugeot citroen eyeing new markets could there be a french car in your future

With the Saab brand now functionally dead, could the next quirky car du jour for individuality-signalling Americans come from France?

All eyes will be on PSA Peugeot Citroen on April 5 as France’s top automaker reveals its new international growth strategy, possibly heralding a return to the long-abandoned U.S. market.

The U.S. and Iran are being looked at as potential export markets, now that PSA’s “Back in the Race” restructuring program has improved the financial fortunes of the once-struggling automaker.

PSA has posted a profit for the past two years, and, as part of the company’s turnaround, has split off its former Citroen-badged DS vehicles into a separate, upscale make. Opening up new markets is now priority number one.

At the very least, DS would be a “natural candidate” for North America, according to comments made to Automobilwoche by brand chief Yves Bonnefont.

Citroen and Peugeot left the American market in 1974 and 1991, respectively, but the company kept a corporate presence in the country until just three years ago.

Famous for making former French president and general Charles de Gaulle’s favorite vehicle — the innovative and beloved Citroen DS — as well as classic sedans like the Peugeot 504, PSA has an impressive history to capitalize on.

However, with no dealer network on this side of the Atlantic, making inroads into North America would be a costly and risky endeavor.

The DS brand contains four hatchback models, while Citroen and Peugeot expand PSA’s lineup considerably further. As far as model recognition goes, only Citroen’s offbeat C4 Cactus has any resonance in the U.S., and that could easily be traced to a handful of enthusiastic automotive journalists.

In Australia, the most isolated market for PSA vehicles, sales of Citroens and Peugeots have slumped recently, and the DS line is forgoing any standalone dealerships for the time being. If you want a DS down under, it will come out of an existing Citroen showroom.

The whiz-enfants at PSA’s Paris headquarters are going to have their work out for them determining if there’s sufficient consumer demand for a company that hasn’t sold a single car in their country in decades.

[Sources: Automotive News, Car Advice, Wheels] [Image: Gnotype/Flickr ( CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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  • Frylock350 Frylock350 on Mar 15, 2016

    Did anybody watch that Mythbusters episode where they attempted to make a motorcycle from a Citroen 2CV? I'm amazed how easily that car was field stripped with some really basic tools. Great episode if you haven't seen it.

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Mar 15, 2016

    If this does come to pass, put me down for a new Citroen DS3 and a "72 DS23 and a "75 SM. Merci beaucoup.

  • Allamericanred Interesting that as a car design nut that hates most American Suv designs that I think it is a pretty good design that stands apart but is not odd. The color really impacts how it looks to me. Some just do not work
  • NormSV650 I had a 2014 Vsport back in the day. It have a quiver feeling over some bumps in turns. Currently have a 2018 CT6 it is very solid and a great driver's car for the size.
  • NormSV650 I had a 2014 Vsport back in the day. It have a quiver feeling over some bumps in turns. Currently have a 2018 CT6 it is very solid and a great driver's car for the size.
  • MaintenanceCosts I saw my first IS500 out in the wild today (a dark-grey-on-black example) and it struck me that it was much more AMG-like than this product. (Great-looking and -sounding car.)
  • ToolGuy https://youtu.be/Jd0io1zktqI