For years, Americans have had a love/hate relationship with French cars from Renault, Citroen and Peugeot due to their quirky design and sometimes less-than-ideal reliability. Citroen was the first to stop selling cars in the U.S. in the 70s, with Renault and Peugeot heading out in the last 15 years or so, retaining only two small offices in Detroit and the east coast to track emissions testing and for research purposes. Even those small offices were closed in 2013, prior to Citroen's return to profitability. But could they be coming back?
The French are Coming ... in 2020
The Lexus of Citroen, its DS brand, was launched in 2010 and has ushered in some more creative and futuristic looks for the automobile manufacturer with an aerodynamic design, intuitive user interface and a hydropneumatic suspension that offers a near-perfect glide down the road. Currently sold only in China and Europe, the vehicles could be sold in the U.S. as early as 2020 with an expanded line of larger and more luxurious vehicles.
International growth is currently a priority for the revitalized brand, as it is expected to re-open operations in the U.S. within a few short years. There are some pretty significant challenges to overcome, such as the lack of a full distribution network as well as the much more basic need for a manufacturing presence in the U.S., which just doesn't currently exist.
Are Americans Ready?
It remains to be seen whether or not the launch will be lauded by American buyers, or if a return after several decades will fall flat. While Peugeot has retained communication and relationships with other automakers in the U.S., we will just have to wait and see whether they are able to leverage those relationships for a big win.
The introduction of another high-end luxury vehicle could have a significant impact on the U.S. auto market as a whole. Americans tend to love quirk, as shown by the recent past success of the Mini Cooper. However, this was a much lower-end vehicle without the price tag that the DS brand is likely to command.
Citroen Still Has Challenges
Not only will the brand have to worry about manufacturing and distribution, there is the whole challenge of service after the sale and the difficulty in finding parts for a new brand. Will this be enough to keep the forward-thinking French out of the market even after 2020? It's doubtful, as the new CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroen, Carlos Tavares, is turning his mind to international expansion. And you simply can't be international without the U.S. market.
If you can't wait for these cars to make a comeback in the U.S., then you'll be glad to know that you will be able to find service for these and all other high-end vehicles at Concierge Auto Repair. We don't just change the oil or rotate your tires, we treat each and every service call as an opportunity to excel and impress with our over-the-top customer service.