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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2 of 33 comments
  • 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.

  • RICK Lou, not sure about panthers and Cougars , BUT at 76,I now consider myself a vintage Rolls Canardly. I roll down one hill and Canardly get up the next! Wishing you a Very Happy, Merry HanaKwanzaMas. 🎅🎄
  • Lou_BC The dealbreaker for me is the $80k starting price in Canada.
  • Zipper69 The Grenadier was designed ground up to be a "better Land Rover" and by most press accounts comes close.What little we know about the Quartermaster it's clear that it's intended for serious off road work without additional aftermarket fettling needed.The price is clearly a barrier, but IF it's the real deal, it will have a slot in the market.
  • Michael Charging more for less. Hmmmm
  • FreedMike Meanwhile, over at Nissan, you can get a perfectly nice, well equipped Frontier four-door that has a V-6, 4wd, and is capable of all the "truck stuff" you could ever want for $36,000. And unlike the "pay over sticker or go f**k yourself" nonsense you get at the Toyota place, the Nissan store will probably happily make you a nice deal.