By on March 7, 2018

Peugeot, Image: Peugeot

The threat of new import tariffs has PSA Group worried about its plan to return to the United States. Following President Trump’s proposal to levy a 25-percent tax on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on inbound aluminum, Europe balked at the suggestion, leading to further threats of a car tariff.

Right now, the U.S. levies a 2.5-percent tax on imported European vehicles, far less than Europe’s 10-percent tariff on vehicle travelling eastward across the Atlantic. There’s a 25-percent U.S. tariff on European vans and trucks, too, which explains why crates of Mercedes-Benz van components sail into the port of Charleston, South Carolina at regular intervals.

According to Trump, any European retaliation against the proposed metal tariffs — which seem all the more likely given yesterday’s resignation of the president’s pro-free trade economic advisor, Gary Cohn — would see the U.S. ratchet up its car tariff. If the scenario comes to pass, your dreams of one day buying a new French car in America could easily be dashed.

Speaking to Automotive News at the Geneva Motor Show, PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares said he’s watching the situation closely. A new vehicle tariff could make the automaker reconsider its 10-year U.S. re-entry plan.

“If the overall framework of tariffs change, it may have an impact on our strategy,” Tavares said Tuesday. “That’s clear, because if we don’t have a profitable business plan, then we don’t go.”

Under the existing plan, the maker of Citroën, Peugeot, and DS vehicles wants to gradually ease back into a market it vacated in 1991, first with ride-sharing programs and other mobility efforts, and later with its own vehicles. A full return would occur by 2026. PSA already has a staffed North American headquarters in Atlanta guiding the initiative.

“The tariffs, if they were to exist, would have an impact on the way we go to market, because we have a very staged and step-by-step approach,” Tavares said. “That means that at the beginning we would source the cars from outside the U.S., given the very limited volumes. If this was to change we would have to reassess our strategy.”

While German automakers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen already have a strong U.S. manufacturing presence, Trump’s threats aren’t being taken lightly. German automakers imported half a million vehicles to the U.S. last year. According to Germany’s Center for Automotive Research, boosted European car tariffs could cut the automakers’ profits by 10 percent.

“Roughly speaking, German carmakers achieve between 10 and 13 percent of their profits in the US,” Metzler bank analyst Jürgen Pieper told Deutsche Welle. “Should a 10 percent duty be imposed, that would perhaps reduce profits in the US by a third.”

As for PSA, Tavares isn’t freaking out just yet. Taking an optimistic tone, the executive said, “Of course, we prefer global trade and we prefer open markets. That’s much better for everybody at the end of the day. I feel that good sense will prevail.”

[Image: PSA Group]

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122 Comments on “What’s Standing Between You and a Future Citroën or Peugeot? Possibly, a Tariff...”


  • avatar
    kenwood

    Wah, wah, wah. Trump is a big ole meanie! C’mon, is there honestly enough of a demand for French cars in the US to sustain the enormous investment in planting a flag all across this country for dealerships, staff, marketing etc?

    BTW, how are all those Fiats selling?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      But Americans love small European compact sedans and hatches!

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Who says so?

        Americans love pickup trucks and SUVs.

        While I’m all in for more choice and “The More The Merrier”, I just don’t see French cars making a come back in the US.

        Isn’t bad enough that we are experiencing a recurrence of the “Fix It Again Tony” cars in the US?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          So, do Australians, Thais, Europeans, Latin Americans.

          Try and research highdesertcat.

          The large vehicle manufacture in the US is of the US’es own making, not the World’s.

          The World uses a different model to facilitate trade. The US is on it’s own with it’s own standards, regulations and tariffs supporting and encouraging large vehicle manufacture and sale.

          So, if the US isn’t selling (exporting) much have a look at what you produce.

          Not everyone likes McDonalds.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            TMA1 statement was:

            “But Americans love small European compact sedans and hatches!”

            My reply was:

            “Who says so?

            Americans love pickup trucks and SUVs.

            While I’m all in for more choice and “The More The Merrier”, I just don’t see French cars making a come back in the US.

            Isn’t bad enough that we are experiencing a recurrence of the “Fix It Again Tony” cars in the US?”

            Your reply does not seem to dovetail into either of those comments. Please explain.

            As for McDonald’s. They seem to do a pretty good business all around the planet, even in India where they serve meatless burgers.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      kenwood,
      Somehow I wouldn’t lump the French cars in with Fiat. You comment does illustrate your lack of knowledge in the automotive world.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to admit Trump has his followers wrapped around his finger. Not sure how universal tariffs even with countries we play nice with fits with the calls during the election of free trade except with countries that were manipulating markets.
      Also this means Trump made it harder on American exports not just imports. EU is claiming a tariff on motor cycles for instance 16% of Harley sales are now in Europe a 20% decline in those sales would put HD precariously close to a major financial meltdown.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Steph,
    “Right now, the U.S. levies a 2.5-percent tax on imported European vehicles, far less than Europe’s 10-percent tariff on vehicle travelling eastward across the Atlantic.”

    Whilst the above statement is true, it is an incredible overreach distorting the true nature of the technical, tariff and regulatory controls used on the US side of the Atlantic.

    Why? Is it because you think you can connect and appeal to the wider TTAC US audience?

    I have asked TTAC to present a BALANCED article of all of the barriers affecting the auto trade globally, even how vehicles are tow rated in the US forces them to upsize unnecessarily.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      They would be required to write a tome about European fuel taxes that discriminate against A-spec powertrains and European subsidies for public transportation. They would also reference the imbalance of trade the US has with Germany, Europe’s largest exporter of automobiles to the US.

      The article would pointlessly reference things we already know about the exploitation of our relatively free and permissive automotive market by mercantile earth-haters who spew carbon into the atmosphere from oceanic shipping so they don’t have to tell local officials they are hiring Americans for final assembly.

      How can you live with yourself, Al, knowing you support this sort of apocalyptic earth destruction?

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      We’ve been over this again and again. US tow ratings are significantly lower than Europeans for two major reasons:

      1] Most of Europe has well-enforced speed limits for vehicles towing trailers, mostly 80 km/h. Americans want to tow at 75 MPH. That makes for a huge difference in towing capabilities.

      2] Trailers/caravans in Europe tend to have two axles, leading to a much lower tongue weight. American-style single-axle trailers have a 10-15% tongue weight, which is significantly more stressful on the vehicle doing the towing.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        eggsalad,
        We use the same system as the EU for our tow ratings and we can tow at up to 110kph.

        There is more to the world than the EU, much more and we have a big say in the way the global auto industry heads.

        Australias does lots of work in the design and development of global vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      I didn’t know about the 2.5% and 10% tariffs, and find it hard to believe. Is this really correct?

      Assuming it is, doesn’t anyone else find to be a ‘bad deal’ for the USA. Why isn’t it 10% and 2.5%?

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Before people criticise the EU tariff in cars just remember their is a US tariff on EU made trucks when there isn’t one the other way.

    Personally I’d just like the US and E.U. to drop all automotive tarrifs.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Tstag,
      It’s more than tariffs, it technical barriers, ie, safety regualtions, CAFE, etc.

      My argument is the EU started out haromonising vehicle manufacture in 1952 to facilitate a common set of standards. The US created dot and the Chicken Tax under Lyndon Johnson as a retaliatory measure against “cheap and nasty” imports.

      My belief is if the US worked with other nations decades ago in using common standards we would not be here today. Now the US has left it to late and it will less influence in the direction of vehicle manufacturing globally. This is evident by the issues at FCA, GM and Ford with their global operations.

      It all great to say but “we are the US and we do it our way”, but when your why impacts what you are producing, then it does become a problem for the US, not the world.

      Like the metric system. The British were the same with their archaic system of measures they used when they ruled the roost.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Then BMW will not be assembled here

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        slavuta,
        Hyundai/Kia have stopped the development of a new plant in the US until the Trump Metal tariff situation is resolved. Even Toyota are making noises about it’s US operations.

        So, I would think all manufacturers in the US including Ford, GM and FCA are all worried.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “until the Trump Metal tariff situation is resolved. ”

          I think it is pretty well resolved. I heard Wilbur Ross today say that these tariffs have to be across the board because of all the “backdooring” that producers do to get steel and aluminum into the US at discounted rates.

          He also said that the announcement would be made later this week and that there would be NO carve outs.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            The metal tariffs are going to sour investment in manufacturing. It has already been estimated that it will cost Ford and GM an extra billion per year.
            Drumph is too cowardly to take on China head on so he comes up with this “on everybody” tariff. It won’t hurt China at all.
            He is isolating the USA from all of their allies. China and Russia must be loving every minute of it.

          • 0 avatar

            Well that’s going to go poorly I’m fine with targeted tariffs across the board tariffs will end badly for all.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I think that the metal tariffs are going to change a lot of trading relationships but I cannot see how it would sour investment in manufacturing, especially if it is manufacturing done by foreigners on American soil, which is exempt from any encumbrances, tariffs, duties and levies.

            To be clear ,my understanding is that metal tariffs will initially apply across the board but that each trading partner can apply to have them waved, except for Canada and Mexico where the tariffs depend on a successful renegotiation of NAFTA.

            It’s been said that Australia which has a trading surplus with the US will automatically be granted a waiver. And steel from Britain used in US Submarines will also be exempted because of national security needs.

            There should be a nationwide announcement at 3:30pm East Coast time, today, according to Bloomberg.

            I think there will be a lot of wiggle room for everyone since Trump can add or drop trading partners, and raise or lower tariffs, at his discretion.

            But it will affect the US auto makers, in any and all cases.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          Big Al from OZ

          Toyota sux.
          In the U.S. Scion is dead; Prius is dying; the trucks and large SUVs are built on ancient platforms; and Americans aren’t buying cars. Hertz, Enterprise and the rest of the rental car com0anies are the only ones buying Toyotas.

          Hyundai/KIA -last year sales droped from 1.35 million in 2016 to 1.2 million in 2017. Again a car heavy line up in an crossover/SUV world.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        BMW already made moves to diversify X3 production – retooling its plant in South Africa.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The EU just builds tiny roads and levies enormous tax so no one can drive pickups. That’s all. Oh yes, they subsidize public transportation, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        TW5,
        Then why isn’t the US building a product for them to drive on their tiny roads?

        I mean I hearing much about how the US is being used in the export arena. How about producing a product someone will buy?

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          Lots of people around the world enjoy eating food. Some even eat it daily. The U.S. exports about as much of it as the rest of the world combined.

          We also export everything from Airplanes and Earthmoving equipment to Microchips and pharmaceuticals.

      • 0 avatar
        Ce he sin

        “The EU just builds tiny roads and levies enormous tax so no one can drive pickups. That’s all. Oh yes, they subsidize public transportation, too.”

        Actually, pickups being generally classed as commercial vehicles they’re often less taxed than cars. It’s just that not many people want to buy them.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        they subsidize everything, like, agriculture etc

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          US Corn, Sugar, Dairy, Soyabeans …………. etc?? Australia can’t sell sugar to the US because of tariffs.

          Corn, Brazilian ethanol has a 54% import tariff to make it competitive against US corn.

          The EU tend to subsidise the smaller farmers, especially France.

          I think the US, Canada and EU are pretty much protectionist in the agri-industry.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        Plenty of people drive pickups here. And they are generally bought by customers who use them for commercial purposes. And the pickups we drive in Europe tend to be smaller, more efficient and just as practical at hauling and transporting cargo.

        Not everyone wants a dedicated pickup. We can purchase a specialized pickup variant (called a Pritsche) in the form of a Mercedes Sprinter or Volkswagen Transporter, and these are very common and popular.

        Some American pickups are ‘popular’ here. The Dodge RAM is surprisingly popular, and sometimes you will see some of those newer Ford pickups here. But do you want to know what else is popular? The current Ford Mustang. These American cars are niche products with a small (or growing) and passionate fan base. And in the case of the Mustang it is finally a world car and as a result its attractiveness has grown.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Tstag, I go to Europe on a regular basis. The very few US trucks I see are driven by GIs or people that have moved back and brought their own truck with them. That would be duty free if you repatriate in most EU countries. So there’s no point taxing US trucks because none are sold there

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Tstag – What makes you think there isn’t a Chicken tax “going the other way”? Yep the EU tags US or import trucks 22%.

      The ignorance here is thick, and the author isn’t helping.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “The ignorance here is thick, and the author isn’t helping.”

        @DenverMike – the irony is thick here, and your post isn’t helping your argument:

        “The standard tariff for importing cars to the U.S. is 2.5 percent of their value. For pickup trucks and commercial vans, the tariff is a whopping 25 percent. Individual European countries don’t charge import duties, but the European Union charges a flat rate of 10 percent on imported automobiles.”

        “Here is what you can expect to pay in import duties, depending on the type of vehicle you’ve bought:

        “22% for trucks (including pickups, when the cargo area is more than 50% of the length of the wheelbase)
        10% for passenger cars (this includes pickup trucks, when the cargo area is less than 50% of the length of the wheelbase)
        8% for motorcycles with an engine capacity to 250cc
        6% for motorcycles with a engine capacity exceeding 250cc”

        If one looks at the Ford F150 and does the math, a regular cab pickup would be taxed at 22% but a crew cab with 5.5 or 6.5 box would be taxed at 10%.

        The USA has stiffer taxes on import pickups than does the EU but the EU has stiffer import taxes on cars.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Wow…conservative styling in 2018. Something I thought was dead and buried in favor of swoopy, swirly, angry and/or or cartoonish creatures.

    Those are some nice, simple lines. The front end sort of looks like a 2007 Accord, only with a bigger grille, but certainly nothing obnoxious.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Hubris for PSA to think it’s a good idea to go at the US market. Has anyone actually run the best case numbers on this idea? The market for these wares is substantially more crowded than it was in ’91 when they left…

    A whole new generation gets to make the mistake.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      French cars are not all that popular in Europe OUTSIDE of France and Iran in the Middle East.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        highdesertcat,
        Actually French cars a gaining in popularity globally.

        The opposite can be said for the US manufacturers in the EU.

        Why can’t they be as successful?

        Really, PSA just bought GM’s Vauxhall and Opel. So how good is PSA and how profitable?

        You talk uneducated nonsense.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “French cars a gaining in popularity globally.”

          What do you base that observation on? If the French automakers went belly up so would the government of France!

          The US vehicles are popular in the EU but not affordable when the local fare can be had for much less.

          Most GIs in Europe sell their American cars to locals when they return stateside. Import taxes on used cars are pretty low.

          ” PSA just bought GM’s Vauxhall and Opel. So how good is PSA and how profitable?

          Yeah, Fiat bought Chrysler too but that doesn’t make Fiat popular or profitable.

          You must be talking out of your ass again because your mouth has got to know better.

          If there was ANY demand for French cars in the US, don’t you think they would have come crashing into America like VW, Mercedes and BMW did?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Not an observation, data, mate.

            Stop plucking sh!t out of your ass. You tend to do this frequently.

          • 0 avatar
            haudit

            Sorry, but this is absolute nonsense. When American cars are offered for sale in the EU, or at least in the UK, they’re ALWAYS offered at a lower RRP than the established European competition. The simple fact is that American cars are rarely in tune with European tastes.

            A case in point would be the Dodge Avenger, which at one point in 2008 was selling so slowly that they were offered for sale on a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ offer, or 50% off their original RRP, meaning that dealerships were willing to take a HUGE loss simply to get rid of them. Nobody wanted to buy them because they were CRAP, not because they were expensive.

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1082181/Buy-car-FREE-car-dealers-try-boost-sales.html

            The Avenger was withdrawn from the UK less than a year later due to very poor sales.

            If you want to sell more cars in Europe, build something Europeans might want to buy instead of inventing imaginary trade barriers that aren’t there.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Please share that data with us.

            Inquiring minds want to know and it would be relative to this article.

            I sent your claims off in an email to my cousin in Germany earlier and just found his reply which stated there is a lot more involved than initially meets the eye.

            But the bottom line is that French automakers are under increased pressure from other Eurozone automakers and automakers outside of the Eurozone.

            The French automakers were late to the globalization party.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            https://www.groupe-psa.com/en/publication/2017-annual-results/

            I haven’t checked it to carefully, but have a read.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            • Successful execution of Push to Pass plan and first concrete results of Opel Vauxhall (OV) turnaround plan PACE!1 • 15.4% increase of Group sales at 3.63 million vehicles2 • 20.7% Group revenue growth at €65.2 billion3 • 7.3% Peugeot Citroën DS (PCD) Automotive division recurring operating margin at a record level4 • 7.1% Group recurring operating margin4 excluding OV and 6.1% including OV with a Group recurring operating income at €3,991 million • 11.5% increase of Net result group share • €1.56 billion positive operational free cash flow5

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Do you expect them to be anything but optimistic in their annual report?

            Look at where they were.

            No doubt their projection is to overtake VW in their dreams.

            But if this is what you want to use as your basis in fact, okay with me!

            I don’t think this annual report is a good basis for long-term projections but you are entitled to your beliefs.

            So don’t you think that Canada would have been a more ready market for French automakers to expand in to?

            So why didn’t they?

            Maybe ttac will revisit this in 2, 5, and 10 years hence to see how much of these projections actually materialized.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            highdesertcat,
            Go back to Portugal, mate. What a tosser.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            That’s why you are held in such low regard – a reputation well deserved.

            I was born in Huntington Beach, CA, USA dude.

            Where were you born, pilgrim?

      • 0 avatar
        Ce he sin

        Well, let’s see…just for a start, the second and fourth best selling makes in the Netherlands are Renault and Peugeot.Both have improved on their market share since 2016. I’ll leave you to look up a few more markets.

        • 0 avatar
          Carrera

          Well, in all fairness Ce he sin…Dacia is a Renault brand. It sells well in Western Europe because it is cheap not because it is something that people are dying to buy. Renault isn’t really something that people aspire to buy in Europe. Generally speaking, none of the French cars have people in Europe go crazy over. German cars? Different story.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Carrera,
            My cousin’s daughter bought a Dacia Duster and loves it. It’s been reliable.

            There are people who are buying Dacia vehicles because of value and they have the choice.

            My argument is in the US when it comes to large pickups and SUVs you only have the “US” choice. Oh, no one would build consumer quality large SUVs outside of the US.

            Why not, especially if there is not much wrong with them.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            Not quite true, Carrera.

            Dacia is a low-cost, low-technology brand that sells purely on price. They are incredibly popular with non-car people who want a basic car that is cheap and easy to maintain and who feel that other alternatives (Japanese and Koreans) are ‘overpriced’, or perhaps not as practical.

            Regarding Renaults, modern Renaults are very well-made and beautifully designed cars. Renault also has a reputation for making excellent and highly competitive hot hatches that can and have outclassed BMWs and Volkswagens on the racetrack.

            I have zero fears about purchasing a Renault. The question would only be, Talisman or Megane?

            I also own a beater 1995 Renault Twingo with a little over 300,000 km on it. This car comes from a time when Renaults were poorly made but despite the abuse it has suffered from six previous owners and the abuse and neglect I expose it to, it refuses to die and has been very reliable (I purchased it in December 2016).

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            highdesertcat,
            First up, then stop spewing inaccurate assumptions. You do this constantly.

            Or, when you are shown to be incorrect you come up with a bullsh!t response like you have done.

            Really, grow up man.

            I’m actually from Long Island, NY.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Constantly? You don’t know what you are talking about.

            I travel most of the year and am rarely on ttac or putc, motortrend, autoweek, WSJ or any other automotive site where I comment.

            You must interpret data differently than others, and I’m OK with that.

            I don’t see things your way, and neither do several others on ttac. You get upset when they tell you so.

            Hey, I don’t care what you choose to believe. That’s your right. And you’re entitled to freedom of speech in America, too.

            But you try to pull the wool over people’s eyes who actually know better and check out your premises with references they trust.

            Enjoy your singularity. To me you have proven that your interpretation of facts is very narrow and limited.

            Whatever happened to the oracles of automotivedom like Dave Ruggles, Bertel Schmidt, or any number of the wizards of the automotive industry who used to comment on ttac?

            You must be the reason these contributors dumped ttac.

            You’re just a troll. And a transparent one at that.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      danio3834,
      PSA sell in Australia successfully and the Australian market is more competitive than the US market. PSA doesn’t a sh!tload of vehicles either here.

      It’s possible.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        danio3834,
        Sorry, the last sentence should read “PSA doesn’t sell a sh!tload of vehicles either here.”

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Thomas Schiffer. I have family and friends in Europe and I was born there as well. I’ve had 5-6 family members that owned Megane, Clio and older Espace van I believe. The Megane and Clio were mid 2000s all bought new. All were a nightmare and very expensive to fix while out of warranty. They were all traded for Korean cars. They never looked back at French cars. The Duster is probably one of the cheapest CUVs around. There could be Chinese ones cheaper? Again, not something people are exciting to own, but for the money…not bad. About the race track version of Renault beating the Germans? I don’t know…my friends had regular street legal cars. Actually one of them had a Peugeot 206 convertible hard top…I think it was a 206. As a French car, compared to the Renault, it wasn’t too bad. She had it for about 7-8 years but she rarely used it. They mostly used the husbands Subaru and recently Lexus. I think she just sold it and bought a Lexus hybrid as well.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “If the scenario comes to pass, your dreams of one day buying a new French car in America could easily be dashed.”

    Yea, like everyday all I do is daydreaming about driving a French car.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      slavuta,
      Why is your attitude, “well who gives a fnck”?

      If someone other than you wants something different why not encourage this?

      How would do you feel when others impiinge on your world?

      Quite a selfish stance. Open your eyes, there are 7.5 billion on this planet other than you.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      It could always be worse. Imagine your flight landing at 9:00 PM. The only car left in your aisle at Enterprise? An exalted Renault Clio.

  • avatar
    mike1041

    Here in Canada what stands between me and one of those is a dealership network. Closest dealership may be in Havana Cuba. Makes for a tough commute if warranty work needed and knowing French autos there will be warranty work.

  • avatar
    Mitchell Leitman

    Funny we haven’t heard anything about them entering the Canadian market, just the US. Even more odd, now that Canada and the EU have free trade.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Mitchell,
      The Canadian market is almost an extension of the US. Canada has been trying to breakaway from the US vehicle market and allow “others” into Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      Not odd at all. Canadian regulations require (or effectively require ) US spec cars. It’s not a big enough market for anybody to make cars specially for the Canadians.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Ce he sin – correct. Canada defaults to USA vehicle regulations but the FTA between Canada and the EU would allow EU spec vehicles into Canada without any alterations.

  • avatar
    bking12762

    In the first half of the last century many French cars were beautiful works of art. The second half didn’t fare so well for the Francophiles.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Americans learned a long time ago that European cars can’t survive the punishment we Americans dish out. Food Lion will struggle to find a market for its vehicles in the US, same as Alfa and FIAT.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      An American Exceptionalist!

      Great to hear.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      LOL @ the logo reference.

      While I’m for more choices in vehicles (especially hot hatches) I can’t imagine their is a demand for these French cars in the US right now. I don’t think its our punishment, its more about size and power expectations. Europeans are happy with small city runabouts, but here in the US its all about trucks and SUVs/CUVs with large gas engines.

      My experiences in Europe (both vacation and work related) is they beat on their cars just as hard if not harder. Their roads, aside from the autobahn or major highways, tend to be narrower and rougher. Parking in cities is even more limiting thus you see many dented and dinged up rides. Since everything car related is more expensive in Europe vehicles tend to be pushed to the extremes: either pathetic beaters or sparkly new BMWs/Benzs, there isn’t much in between.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        JMII,
        As I pointed out above, PSA sell in Australia and our market has greater choice than the US and we only have 25 million people and our prices are not that bad either.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        JMII,
        I forgot to add, SUVs, CUVs and even pickups to a degree have been improving quite rapidly in the EU.

        The EU and people in general are all the same, we are people. This “thing” that an American is different is quite odd.

  • avatar
    lonborghini

    “…I feel that good sense will prevail.”

    Good sense will prevail when the Trump crime family goes to prison.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Europe has lots of non-tariff barriers to US cars:
    1. Heavy taxation of motor fuels.
    2. Engine displacement and CO2 emission based purchase and registration taxes.
    3. Narrow roads and small parking spaces.Narrow roads and small parking spaces.
    4. Different standards for emission, safety, and lighting (even though the US was the first to regulate all of these areas).
    5. Automaker owned/controlled dealerships making dual franchising difficult.

    The first 3 discriminate against larger US cars, while number 5 makes it more expensive to build new distribution. Displacement taxes were originally implemented by Europe to protect their markets from Model T domination, and are a key reason that British cars historically had very long strokes and small bores, because tax was based on bore size.

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      The first three discriminate against larger cars, no matter where they’re made.

      Different standards for lighting or whatever affect all markets. Just as an example, when Ford decided to sell the previous Fiesta in North America they had to change something like 40% of the parts due to a combination of market preferences and legislation. Even the glass in the door mirrors had to change because the Americans need to be told that cars appearing therein are closer than they appear. In an ideal world we’d all have the same standards and there’s an organisation working towards this but getting nowhere because every major market wants to keep its own oddities and refuses to accept anything invented elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Ce he sin,
        Australia uses the UN vehicle harmonised standards and we don’t discriminate against any vehicle or energy type. The EU has placed additional taxes on larger engine vehicles. Plus fuel tax in the EU is quite high compared to Australia, Canada and the US.

        You will see how pitiful EV sales are in Australia in a true market, diesel, gasoline, LPG, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      stingray65,
      I know this is from Wikipedia, but it is relatively accurate. Here an excerpt, with the link following for the complete article. Once you read it you will see my point of view.

      ………………………………………………………………..

      It is not currently possible to produce a single car design that fully meets both UN and US requirements simultaneously,

      ………………………………………………………………..
      The most notable non-signatory to the 1958 Agreement is the United States, which has its own Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and does not recognise UN type approvals. However, both the United States and Canada are parties to the 1998 Agreement. UN-specification vehicles and components which do not also comply with the US regulations therefore cannot be imported to the US without extensive modifications. Canada has its own Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, broadly similar to the US FMVSS, but Canada does also accept UN-compliant headlamps and bumpers. It should be noted, however, that the impending Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union could see Canada recognise more UN Regulations as acceptable alternatives to the Canadian regulations.[8] Canada currently applies 14 of the 17 ECE main standards as allowable alternatives[citation needed] – the exceptions at this point relate to motorcycle controls and displays, motorcycle mirrors, and electronic stability control for passenger cars.[citation needed] These three remaining groups will be allowed in Canada by the time the ratification of the trade deal occurs.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Forum_for_Harmonization_of_Vehicle_Regulations

      …………………………………………………………………

      So, as you can see the US is on it’s own and hopefully the Canadians will see the light and join a common set of standards.

      Once upon a time the US was able to dictate global vehicles, now, not so much. The US will eventually have to change as manufacturing changes.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – You’re more than a little confused. The EU “harmonization” you speak of in the 1950’s only concerned components like headlights/lighting, batteries, fluids, tires, and such, brand to brand, country to country. Otherwise the simplest replacement, fix or maintenance would be one giant clusterfuk.

        Funny Europe went with “inches” for rims/tires. But the US will accept red or amber rear turn-signals, yet EU automakers routinely change their tail lights to “all red” for the US market and NA , by their own choice/expense, simply for the cleaner, smoother look.

        So changing the plastic headlights a little can’t be that great of an ordeal.

        And of course USA CAFE/CAFE/NHTSA regulations happened long before EU regs, and btw, catalytic converters weren’t even required in the EU until 1992. Shocking I know!

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Um dim one.

          The whole gist of my comment is the US uses a completely different system.

          The rest of the world has a system in place to facilitate trade.

          This isn’t about wheel nuts or mufflers.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The US never intended a “completely different system”. It’s not so different, but the US only intended to improve the lives, health, safety of Americans.

            What the “world” did after that was their own call. By deviously zigging everywhere US regulations “zag”, plus other direct and indirect barriers, the EU helped isolate EU automakers and sandbagged exports to the US.

            Now how the heck is that anyone’s fault but their own?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Dim,
            This is about facilitating trade. The US failed to join the rest of the world decades ago. Detroit and the UAW didn’t want to.

            The US back then was a huge market by global standards and it had little impact.

            Now, the rest of the world has grown and the US represents 20% of the global vehicle market.

            It missed the boat. For the US to export it must build what the world wants and needs and it ain’t F-150s. The US only makes them because they are protected by a raft of tariffs, regulatory controls, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Why is it up to the US to change? And what’s the point when the others refuse to play fair?

            Then they severely altered the shape and form of their autos through tight regulations, but mostly over taxation, making USA type autos and “trucks” nonconforming for the most part.

            This is by design obviously. But this nonsense works against EU automakers too. Again no one’s fault but their own.

            What happened in the US is what would happen in any market, when consumers are free, or fairly free to chose, and automakers then simply follow along. It would happen in Europe too, mostly.

            And no one is falling for that familiar fallacy Europe in one big Medieval Village.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Big Al: What the worlds wants? You mean politicians that set up all these non-tariff barriers so no one outside of N. America can afford to buy and run a V-8 powered large vehicle? Virtually every European I’ve ever met who was living for an extended period in the States bought a big truck, SUV, or sports car because they always dreamed of having such a vehicle, but could never afford it in the land of $9 per gallon gasoline (80%+ tax) and car price doubling taxation on purchases. The sheep (aka citizens) in Europe and much of Asia have become brainwashed to think that they live in “free markets”, when virtually everything they buy is manipulated so everyone but the rich are artificially forced to choose what the politicians say they should buy. The US has its own issues, but when it comes to motor vehicles there is no freer market in the world.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          stingray65,
          No. V8s?

          stingray, some countries don’t have the infrastructure to be able to effectively operate large vehicles.

          Remember the EU mostly rebuilt itself from ruins after a couple of WWs.

          The US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand didn’t have to rebuild, we made a lot of money from the wars, hence we were able to drive larger vehicles. We seem to forget this and want to continue on as we were. Well, the opportunities brought onto us by the wars no longer exist.

          I beg to differe with you regarding “all Europeans” buy V8s that move to America. To be honest I’d say far less than half would.

          As for the EU, read up on history and you’ll find the EU fully recovered in the 80s economically from WW2. By this time the fuel crisis had already taken it’s toll. So, who in their right mind would make large engine vehicles, when the smaller engine vehicles are doing the same job?

          The problem I think is you are trying to simplify this, when in fact many different factors have made the EU market different than the US. As I pointed out the EU to their wisdom came up with a common standard which then went global and this facilitates global trade. The US system doesn’t. This is another reason why it’s hard for the US to export.

          Now, the US needs to change if it wants to export more vehicles. But, as we all know the US is off shoring small vehicle production because it is not competitive in this area. So, all you have left is the protected large vehicle segment, with no or little competition.

          So, you ain’t got much to offer the world in motor vehicles, hence Trump’s bullsh!t “no one buys American cars”.

          The US will eventually realise it can’t make it alone as what “made America great” was it’s ability to trade and now Trump is going to screw it all up for you guys.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            I live in a city that’s going through an immigration boom. Europeans, especially those from the former Soviet Bloc nations, will be found driving the largest American vehicles they can get their hands on. Asian immigrants and virtue signaling liberals drive econoboxes. Even the poorest immigrants want larger, more powerful vehicles. Foreign nationals who attend the area universities are gravitating to larger SUV/CUVs, colleges were once the domain of compacts. The U.S. “offshores” small cars because nobody wants them. How many times have you heard Americans saying “I wish they’d sell that hatchback in the states”, then when the hatch arrives no one buys them? All. The. Time.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Big Al,

            You really believe that if Europe (and Oz) had $2 to $3 per gallon gasoline and allowed an F-150 or Mustang V-8 to be sold at the same price as in the States, that there wouldn’t be considerably more US vehicle sales in those markets? Yes parking and streets are tighter in Europe and much of Asia, but there would definitely be a lot of people trading in their small hatchbacks for something larger that goes Vroom Vroom.

  • avatar
    manu06

    Tariffs good for everyone else ?
    https://www.politico.eu/article/opinion-china-steel-trade-no-winners-in-europe-war-against-chinese-steel-market-anti-dumping-imports/

    73 percent !
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/07/european-union-import-duties-chinese-steel-port-talbot-tata

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      We should know more tomorrow. Official announcement planned. There MAY be carve-outs for Canada and Mexico IF NAFTA can be successfully re-negotiated, it was said.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      If the USA does impose tariffs it does appear that the WTO could authorize 3.2 billion worth of countervailing tariffs on the USA for Canada alone.

      China’s steel and aluminum exports to the USA are trivial. Canada would be hardest hit followed by the EU, South Korea and Mexico.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Lou,
        If Trump does make his Metal Tax selective on certain countries, I do know one of those countries could make the US economy tank overnight.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    The comment about Americans dishing out more punishment to their cars than Europeans do made me smile.

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      And it made me scratch my head wondering what he was talking about.

      I’ve been driving European cars (mostly German-made vehicles) for decades now generally averaging between 30,000 and 40,000 km (sometimes more) per year. I tend to keep my cars for ten years, and I have a lead foot. I live in Germany and could legally drive my German cars on the Autobahns at speeds which would get you two (possibly even three!) life sentences in an American prison. Such high speeds place enourmous stress on the engine, transmission, suspension and so forth. That is automotive punishment in its own right.

      Most of my European cars have coped perfectly fine with this exposure to ‘abuse’, especially the German cars. My last vehicle, a 2007 Audi A4 2.0 TDI Avant, racked up an impressive 650,000 km+ without any major component failures. And this vehicle was abused daily on the Autobahn, driven at almost redline speeds and RPM. The basic components never suffered any failures despite this consistent abuse. They remained functional.

      Basic maintenance and maintaining your car properly also help extend its life, durability and reliability. I have no idea how some people maintain their cars, but in my experience my most reliable cars have been those which I have maintained with love and care, despite still abusing them whenever that famous Autobahn no speed limit sign appears…

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        10-12 hour tips at 80-85 mph? “Murica, Hell Yes!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I was amazed at how my German, Dutch and Portuguese relatives meticulously took care of their vehicle, when I stayed with them. There was the once-a-week wash, checking under the hood, tire pressure, etc.

          Contrast that to how Americans take care of theirs, aside from the compulsory once-over whenever they take the time to do so, and its easy to see that most Americans view their cars as an appliance.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        German “abuse” = driving at high speed on the Autobahn

        American “abuse” = Maybe an annual oil change. Otherwise all other maintenance deferred until weird noises start occurring or warning light appears.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Hah, annual oil change.

          Most Americans don’t change the oil until the idiot light tells them to do so.

          One person I know took almost two years before changing the oil in their car because that’s when the idiot light told them the 7500 mile service interval had been reached.

          Trying to get that oil filter off was a b!tch. I had to drive a screw drive through the filter to use as leverage to twist the damn thing off.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Europe’s ludicrous protectionism simply created cars built to a much lower threshold.

            And remember “heat kills”. Autos designed/built around cooler average temps, means US (market) cars are “overbuilt” for Europe so stiff protectionism, tariffs and technical barriers against “outsiders” should surprise no one.

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            Ajla and Highdesercat are right on the money. My family and friends in Romania would drive their cars no more than 8,000 kms per year. They would baby those cars constantly…oil changes every 4,000. Fluids changed on yearly basis…brake fluid, coolant, PS fluid. Most of those fluids are considered “lifetime” in USA and no one changes them. Cars go 130,000 miles with original coolant, ps fluid, brake fluid. I am not saying it is the right way to do it, but when it comes to car maintenance, it is a religion in Europe. My dad here in USA would drive his Accord, 1 qt low on oil on a regular basis ( Accords with V6 Vtm engines are known for using oil). All the other fluids he would tell me are “for life”. A great swath of America think exactly as him.
            Now, my relatives’ car in Romania were taking abuse in only one area as opposed to USA…suspension. The roads in Romania were and still are horrid. Of course, my relatives would do everything possible not to hit any potholes but sometimes at night, it was hard to do.
            I have an uncle in Danemark as well. He basically makes love to his car on a monthly basis. Keeps them for 5-7 years and trades them with 70,000-80,000 km. Cars are pristine. He owned renaults, and Citroens until he tried a Toyota about 15 years ago. Never went back to the French. Has a RAV4 now and loves it. He had a Corolla and some sort of car/CUV almost like the Venza in USA but smaller. Loved them both. He is hooked on Toyota and won’t touch anything else.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Carrera,
            I have British friends and they service their car regularly because of the many short distance trips they do.

            Actually short distance trips accelerate vehicle wear.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        I’ve never lived in Europe but I drove through The Low Countries to Northern France back in the late 1900s – and back. I’ve also driven in England and Ireland several times. Suffice ( it ) to say that one can go years without hearing a car hit its rev limiter on the street in North America. In the above countries, in my experience, it happens at most stoplights; through many roundabouts; and on every single Autoroute entrance. Everything from clapped-out Fords, through Audi cop cars, to 911 Turbos would bang up against their limiters – and it was awesome. So much so that after the trip to France ( and the Renault 25 rental car that did 140 Km/h and more at incredible RPMs ) I bought a 944. It had the longest overdrive I’ve yet driven and, as such, was too long-legged for Western Canada. It was infuriating at 110 KM/h: the choice was bog in fifth or rev madly in fourth. Nothing in-between.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    I thought Trump had a bromance with Macron …so why would he consider a tariff ” on his bro “…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here’s a link all should read.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-is-the-most-protectionist-nation-2015-9?IR=T

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I’ve never seen a Peugeot or Citroen in person. I’ve yet to see an AMC Hornet yet either. I did see an F/A-18 Hornet at an airshow though, a little quicker 0-60 than the AMC.

  • avatar

    Haven’t heard PSA any more about plans to branch out to the U.S. Even without Trump’s import tariffs, it was not very likely that the French would make the jump.

    Btw, didn’t know that there was a disparity between the U.S. and the EU in treating import cars. What I do know, is that American cars are expensive in the EU, because they are either fuel-INefficient and/or they emit too much.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s the very same isolationist EU trade barriers haunting PSA, same as they did for Fiat, Renault, Peugeot, etc, in the ’80s.

      It’s perfectly acceptable for European luxury cars to be unreliable and problematic, it’s even expected, but it’s a whole different scene when cars that are supposed to be economical pull that crap.

      Plus there’s all sort of new “lemon laws” since then.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The difference and the EU’s obsession with reduced CO2 emissions, have more to do with isolating and protecting EU automakers than saving the dang planet.

      • 0 avatar
        Ce he sin

        You’re quite right of course and how clever of you to notice. Of course high fuel prices and taxation on cars have nothing to do with imported oil or the fact that motoring was originally a leisure activity for the well off who found themselves taxed for the privilege. It’s all to do with ensuring that sufficient difference exists between American and European cars to act as a barrier. And there’s more. Some countries in Europe have rhd cars. The usual story is that this came about from the days of horse travel when a rider would, if right handed, prefer to encounter a stranger to his “weapon” side. But we know better now. RHD is another plot to keep the Americans out, and very effective too.
        In fact we can see this kind of protectionism everywhere. Take Japan. The perceived wisdom is that the high population density of the inhabitable areas of the country means that small cars, particularly kei cars, are encouraged. In reality of course it’s another anti-American plot. Just to add to that, the Japanese drive on the left too. More protectionism!
        Take Australia. At one time the Aussies had high tariffs which meant that car makers had to build cars in Australia. But then they liberalised, resulting in removal of tariffs. Australia has long distances and cheapish fuel so perfect territory for American imports. But no. Those dastardly Australians persist in driving on the left and refusing to register new lhd vehicles. So plenty of Rangers from Thailand, no F150s from America. Sad!
        South Africa then? No, there’s still this rhd thing.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Correct. And other than the US, what other meaningful car market accepts either LHD or RHD new cars?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Ce he sin,
          Almost correct.

          Western Europe took a stance regarding energy security differently than the US. Look at France with its nuclear power.

          As for the rest I tend to disagree overall.

          Motor vehicle trade is done far better with the signatories of the UNECE. They all use a common set of standards. So, even a V8 Commodore was able to meet EU requirements.

          The side you drive on was decided in the 19th Century, before cars. But I do believe we should standardise LH or RH drive.

          As I stated the US took a much more radical position in defending vehicle production to the point were they just are not competitive at building cars for the global market.

          Not all cars in the US are large vehicles, so the globals can also tap into the US market.

          The US needs to build what the world wants if it expect export sales. But to do this it myst remove the barriers.

          Maybe this metal tax will highlight this to help the US build a better export market.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Ce he sin,
          Almost correct.

          Western Europe took a stance regarding energy security differently than the US. Look at France with its nuclear power.

          As for the rest I tend to disagree overall.

          Motor vehicle trade is done far better with the signatories of the UNECE. They all use a common set of standards. So, even a V8 Commodore was able to meet EU requirements.

          The side you drive on was decided in the 19th Century, before cars. But I do believe we should standardise LH or RH drive.

          As I stated the US took a much more radical position in defending vehicle production to the point were they just are not competitive at building cars for the global market.

          Not all cars in the US are large vehicles, so the globals can also tap into the US market.

          The US needs to build what the world wants if it expect export sales. But to do this it myst remove the barriers.

          Maybe this metal tax will highlight this to help the US build a better export market.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – The V8 Commodore was able to meet “radical” US requirements too. You’re familiar with the Chevy SS?

            US “requirements” are soft and is an open market to the widest spectrum of cars, no matter how big or small, as long as they’re safe, run clean consumers accept them obviously, and thanks to US lemon laws, must be very reliable.

            Anything that can’t cut it, you don’t wanna own. Building what the world “wants” is easy, but will it be taxed to holy hell when it gets there is another story, keeping in mind small cars (even from Toyota, Kia, etc) have very little profit to work with.

            If you’re a consumer in Europe and don’t mind your choices “radically” limited by bureaucrats or don’t know any better, enjoy that (diesel!).

          • 0 avatar

            @BAFO – Americans also chose to establish country on the new continent with wide open spaces separated from other (more civilized) countries by ocean which made it difficult for Europeans to invade and conquer America. What a shame! America sucked out all talent from rest of the world and now all inventions and new trends come from America. The rest of world exist only to productize and manufacture American inventions and ideas inexpensively for Americans to enjoy in exchange for worthless paper. And also to trains more talent for America to own.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    I know what’s standing between me and a Peugeot or Citroen – a desire not to buy a car made of bent wire and egg box plastic with the durability of a piece of tissue paper

  • avatar
    TruthSeeker

    Honestly, I really don’t see tariffs on the automotive sector being good for anyone…

  • avatar

    The EU is more serious about reducing emissions and fossil energy dependency overall. So, no wonder big V8-powered cars are taxed accordingly. What does need to change, is what TTAC mentions: the U.S. lighter tariffs in general on import cars; make that on par with what the EU is charging.

  • avatar
    TruthSeeker

    I just heard today that Canada and Mexico are to be exempt from tariffs on steel and aluminum… wonder what that will stir up in the EU?


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