Citroen is one of the oldest automakers in existence, at 96 years, and has been one of the leading pioneers in the industry ever since. So why have they been absent from the US market officially since 1974? Well, for one thing, Citroen struggled to meet fast-changing US DOT safety regulations and thus, were federally banned from the market for failing to meet these regulations.
Factor in the consideration that Citroen’s quirky designs and ergonomics didn’t quite catch on in the hearts and minds of the simpletons of America and the French automobile industry was on the verge of union collapse and economical woes, similarly to the British auto industry, the climate just didn’t work in the French automaker’s favor. But that wasn’t the last of the French’s contribution to the US market as Peugeot continued selling cars, until weak sales forced them to retreat in 1991, never to be seen again.
But now, CARandDRIVER reports Citroen might be eyeing a return to the US market with their DS brand, a sub-brand to the company being market as a luxury branch to the French automaker. This ultimately means Citroen in general could reenter our market.
In Europe and China, Citroen’s DS brand has been rather successful, especially among those strongly immersed in culture, mainly individualists and intellectuals. Basically, they’re popular among hipsters. And America has as much of a hipster game as any other country, especially in the more metropolitan areas of the US of A.
Even though the French automakers like Citroen, and even Peugeot, didn’t quite leave on a good note, enough time has probably elapsed to the point where there are enough new buyers out who have no idea who Citroen are and are unaware of the company’s past in the US market. This of course leaves potential.
But this potential has to be leveraged with the uphill battle of reestablishing a new automaker in the US market, which means the need for a new dealership network and a huge marketing campaign to set the new tone for the brand in this country, and a lot of money needing to be invested. Ideally of course, this means it makes more sense for Citroen to partner up with a company that’s already has its foot in the door. Given how PSA Peugeot Citroen is national neighbors with Renault-Nissan, who of course owns and operates the Nissan and Infiniti brands, there’s a possibility brewing right there.
The Citroen DS nameplate however is nothing new as the DS was once a model that was a revolutionary leader and innovator in the automobile industry. It was so successful, it remained in production for two decades, until it was replaced by the CX. At that point however, Citroen fell into the hands of Peugeot, who’s it’s current owner, and as aforementioned, the brand tumbled into a deep rut with the aforementioned financial and union woes.
Today however, the DS wouldn’t be one new model, but rather an entire brand. Of course, the cars won’t be nearly as revolutionary as the original DS itself, however, I’ve long maintained that it would absolutely wonderful to see the option of some new French cars come stateside.
What do you think?
– By: Chris Chin