Why No French Cars in The US?
The United States welcomes foreign cars. On a daily drive, it is common to see cars made in Japan, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, and a few other companies. In the mid-20th century, it was common to see cars made in France, but those carmakers have not sold their wares in the US for several years. The French are known for their sophisticated taste and style, but in the mid-20th century, the cars that were delivered to the US were anything but stylish and sophisticated. These are a few of the stinkers that were once sold in the US, but were not popular choices:
AMC Encore and Alliance. These cars were produced in the AMC factories in Wisconsin, but it was not actually called the AMC Encore or Alliance. Instead, it was known as the Renault Encore and Renault Alliance. The branding of the AMC Encore to Renault came because of the financial difficulties that AMC was facing. The cars sold in respectable numbers, but it was never much of a success. Eventually, buyers realized that these French-American cars were not very well made, so they turned to other models.
Citroen: These haven’t been sold in the US since the early 1970s due emissions, bumper safety, and styling issues that differed between the two nations. There was not any other car that looked anything like the Citroen DS or the 2CV. You would certainly turn heads in the US if you were able to putt around town in one of these classic vehicles. The Citroens were also known to fall apart much faster than cars made in other countries.
Le Car: Along with the AMC Encore and Alliance, Renault also made the Le Car. This was supposed to be “the” little French car for those who could not afford something amazing. The Le Car was tiny, like a Chevette or a Mini, but the interior was bigger than most people realized. The car sipped gas, but it fell apart quite easily. This car and its repair record was one reason why French cars began to get the reputation that they were unreliable.
Peugeot: Again, the reputation for being poorly made kept Americans from buying the popular French brand. This brand lasted a bit longer than other manufacturers as they were sold as late as 1992. Now, the car is no longer sold in the country because of safety standards in the US. The Peugeot lineup did poorly on all of their crash tests. The company realized it was just too expensive to construct their cars to meet US standards, so they stopped selling here.