If and When French Cars Return to America, Thank Canada

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
if and when french cars return to america thank canada
While French automaker PSA Group’s newly created North American headquarters resides in the warm, sunny South (Atlanta, to be exact), PSA North America CEO Larry Dominique’s mind often turns to that frosty land to the north.That’s where PSA, maker of Citroën, Peugeot, and DS vehicles, feels it can gain a firm foothold once it begins shipping its vehicles to North America. A decade-long re-entry plan is already underway, but French car aficionados must first make do with the company’s mobility services. Real, actual cars will follow, and Dominique sees Eastern Canada as key part of the company’s plan.Quebec separatists haven’t managed to sever their province from the rest of the country, despite several attempts, but they can at least look forward to thumbing their noses at the federal government through the purchase of a bonafide French car.If you weren’t already aware, Quebec, Canada’s second most populous province, is pretty French, and Dominique feels his company’s cars could go over like hot poutine and a nicely chilled bottle of Fin du Monde. Neighboring Ontario and New Brunswick also harbor large francophone populations.“Canada to us is a very important market,” Dominique said during an Automotive News roundtable in Detroit. It’s not just the assumed acceptance from French-speaking citizens that enamours Dominique with the Canadian market. The country recently dropped its 9.5 percent tariff on vehicles built in European Union nations, and its franchise-protection laws aren’t as robust as those in the United States.Currently, the U.S. imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on European-built cars, but President Trump has threatened to even the playing field. (Europe imposes a 10 percent tariff of U.S. vehicles.)“From a distribution perspective, it’s more flexible than the United States,” the CEO said.Tariff threats aside, PSA is determined to return to North America, though the cost of building a dealer network from scratch doesn’t appeal to the automaker. It would prefer going a more modern route, similar to Tesla, though that could see it run afoul of protectionist laws in various states. In the interest of cost savings, Dominique said the automaker may partner with other companies for some parts of the business.[Image: Wikimedia ( CC BY 2.0)]
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  • Mandalorian Mandalorian on May 10, 2018

    They better be planning on buying or building some beefier engines, because most of those frenchies have less displacement than a sixer of bud.

  • "scarey" "scarey" on May 10, 2018

    I could go for a DS model. They look like a Studebaker Hawk stretch limo.

  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
  • Chris P Bacon I've always liked the looks of the Clubman, especially the original model. But like a few others here, I've had the Countryman as a rental, and for the price point, I couldn't see spending my own money on one. Maybe with a stick it would be a little more fun, but that 3 cylinder engine just couldn't provide the kick I expected.
  • EBFlex Recall number 13 for the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 MKExplorer.
  • CEastwood Every time something like this is mentioned it almost never happens because the auto maker is afraid of it taking sales away from an existing model - the Tacoma in this instance . It's why VW never brought the Scirrocco and Polo stateside fearful of losing Golf sales .
  • Bca65698966 V6 Accord owner here. The VTEC crossover is definitely a thing, especially after I got a performance tune for the car. The loss of VTEC will probably result in a slower vehicle overall for one reason: power under the curve. While the peak horsepower may remain the same, the amount of horsepower and torque up to that peak may be less overall. The beauty of variable cam lift is not only the ability to gain more power at upper rpm’s on the “big cam”, but the ability to gain torque down low on the “small cam”. Low rpm torque gets the vehicle moving and then big horsepower at upper rpm’s gains speed. Having only one cam profile is now introducing a compromise versus the VTEC setup. I guess it’s possible that with direct injection they are able to keep the low rpm torque there (I’ve read that DI helps with low rpm torque) but I’m skeptical it will match a well tuned variable lift setup.
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