There’s three things I love about France — their cooking, their wine, and their cars. Well, maybe four things, but I don’t want to get into trouble.
Such fine memories. In fact, I owned a Peugeot when I lived in Europe. Day to day, that was funnest car I’ve ever driven. Later, when I returned to the U.S., I went on to purchase two more Peugeots, including the last model that was ever imported into the United States. Now, French cars have become quite a rarity on American shores. This makes me sad.
About 20 years ago, Peugeot stopped exporting cars into the U.S. Truth is, Peugeots never sold very well here. Some of this lack of enthusiasm came from our cultural bias against the French. Peugeot and other brands including Renault also didn’t help their cause any with shoddy craftsmanship. They developed a terrible reputation that become impossible to shed from the early imports being problematic cars. The cars got a lot better over the years, but as they say, one never gets a second chance to make a positive first impression. The hint of a lemon smell stuck forever.
At the time, the American luxury car market was dominated by the Germans. Now, Lexus and other popular brands have caught up and surpassed the Europeans, becoming the new automotive gold standard. Meanwhile, few Americans have ever driven or even seen a French car, since most of the remaining models are now quite old, or have been restored as classics.
If Peugeot was my first love — then my tempting mistress has always been Citroen.
I’ve always wanted to own a Citroen. But that wasn’t a widely held view. The older Citroens looked funny. Many people thought they were ugly. At least let’s agree on this — they were certainly different.
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