Hooniverse Asks – What French Car Would you Like to See Back in the US?

Fiat has triumphantly returned to the U.S. market, a feat just shy in difficulty to landing on the sun – during the day. With that Italian maker of all things impermanent once again filling dealerships with Latin love, I got to thinking that maybe the French too ought to once again darken these shores with their crankcase oils.

Right now, the only French-built car officially sold in the U.S. is the Smart Car. Yeah, I  know, you’re making a Moe face and going whaaaaaa?! over that statement, but it is true. While headquartered in Germany, Smarts are built in both that teutonic state and in Hambach France. That two seat penalty box represents from the lowest levels of the French auto industry, and there’s many a model that the soft cheese-loving line workers of this European Union member build that we here would sorely like to have.
So, with that in mind, which French car would you most like to see come over here? Maybe that Clio Sport with the plexi windows? Or perhaps one of the wonderfully weird Citroëns? Whatever it is, we too can’t wait to exclaim- look at that escargot!

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  1. Maxichamp Avatar

    I want a Citroen C6, bad.

    1. Paul_y Avatar

      This times a billion. That is [unattainable] sex in car form.

  2. Feds_II Avatar

    I literally owe my life to an '86 Renault Alliance, and checking out their .co.uk, their range is pretty appealing to the eye today. So, without further research, I am going to say Renault for sure. I'll take a Wind Roadster for myself, and a Kangoo for people hauling.

  3. TX_Stig Avatar

    Either Renault or Pegeuot. And from those I would want a Megane RS or a 308 GTi. Or just the sportiest diesel model of the respective lines. Citroen has become a little strange for me.

    1. Syrax Avatar

      After the DS, GS, SM, XM you think NOW Citroen is weird?

      1. TX_Stig Avatar

        True, I have always preferred Renault and Pegeuot. The XM was a decent enough car if I remember the rental we had one time. A little odd looking, but no worse than Saab. The rest of their stuff is a little too off center for me. And not Hoonworthy enough to offset the eccentricity. Not to diverge too much, but for a FWD coupe, though, the early 2000's 406 coupe was a truly fantastic car.

      2. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

        Add BX, H (van), 2cv, Ami and Dyane.

  4. tonyola Avatar

    The Bugatti Veyron is also built in France in the city of Molsheim.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Now that is diversity.

    2. skitter Avatar

      And Bugatti, the company, is historically French as opposed to Italian. The EB110 was an Italian Job, but even then notice the blue rather than red paint.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        It's a bit trickier than that– Molsheim was German territory, not French (although French-speaking), when Ettore Bugatti built his factory there. The area was ceded to France only after the First World War. Bugatti himself remained an Italian citizen for essentially his entire life.

        1. skitter Avatar

          Very interesting. I'd always assumed Molsheim was much further south, closer to Italy and farther from those areas that have gone back and forth so many times over the centuries.

  5. scroggzilla Avatar

    Bring us your hot hatches…Megane RS, 308 GTi and DS3 Sport…….and some C6's

  6. M44Power Avatar

    Does the Dacia Sandero (a Renault brand) count? I kid, I kid…
    Seriously, a Peugeot RCZ could easily be the most beautiful car being made on the Continent today. A Citroen C5 or C6 would be nice too…

    1. FЯeeMan Avatar

      Good news!

    2. swisshoon Avatar

      I can think of many hoons stateside who would jump at the chance to own a Dacia Logan Pick-Up. Manual transmission only, a diesel motor option providing around 47 mpg, a payload rating of over 1'500 pounds, and starting at around $12,000 in Switzerland right now, including 8% value added tax. Disheartened former suitors of Mahindra, are you ready to think small?

      1. joshuman Avatar

        That would sell for sure. Getting it on the market is the hard part.

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    I was going to say Citroen, but you know what? I would be happy with any French automaker back in the states.

  8. kah Avatar

    Citroen that DS3 looks interesting , we need more hot hatches

  9. Jim Brennan Avatar
    Jim Brennan

    It too late for me to purchase a Renault Avantime, or a Vel Satis, but there could be a Renault Safrane in my future….

    1. scroggzilla Avatar
      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Now you're talking.

      2. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

        You're just saying that because it has a Mopar engine…

        1. scroggzilla Avatar

          If MOPAR power is good enough for Sir Stirling, than it's good enough for the Hooniverse
          <img src="http://cache.jalopnik.com/assets/resources/2007/10/hk500a.jpg"&gt;

      1. tonyola Avatar

        Actually, you can buy a very faithful replica constructed on a Lincoln LS V8 base – TLC Talbo. I've seen one up close – very well finished.
        <img src="http://www.fantasyjunction.com/img/cars/large/19785.jpg&quot; width=500>

        1. Alff Avatar

          Last I heard, you could buy the whole company for not much more than the cost of one finished vehicle.

      2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        I'm not exactly ambiguous about this car…

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Wait, I thought those were built on the border between Spain and Switzerland.
      (and yes, that's intended to be a joke)

      1. tonyola Avatar

        There actually was a Spanish Hispano-Suiza company and they built cars from before the French company to well into the 1940s. Here's a 1941 car.
        <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/elbqcm.jpg&quot; width=500>

  10. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    You guys can have the C6. I'm that generous.
    I would love a C6, but only if it were given to me as a gift. Speaking to my local Citroen dealership, pretty much every Citroen employee wishes it didn't exsist. Every dealer has to promote them, despite the fact that they're bastards to sell because they have such low residual values. It's another use for JC's Elephant metaphor. Lovely to look at but I wouldn't want to buy one.
    You'd be much better off with Renault. I'd say Peugeot but all their cars look like they're trying to eat a hotdog sideways.

    1. zsm Avatar

      Pugs look like Mazdas to me, so I think they too look great with that face.

    2. tonyola Avatar

      To me Peugeots look like toothless, retarded clowns.
      <img src="http://www.carpages.co.uk/peugeot/peugeot_images/peugeot_107_22_05_05.jpg"&gt;

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Yep. Do you see the hotdog?

  11. ChuckyShamrok Avatar

    Peugeot, simply because A)My grandfather had a diesel 505 wagon when I was little, and B) The 907
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2006/06/907_0408ab004.jpg"&gt;

    1. Cynic Avatar

      Oooh. Concept or real car?

      1. ChuckyShamrok Avatar

        Sadly, a Concept

  12. Syrax Avatar

    While not in the USA (and they will sell me one here for an abusive price) I would go for the C5 Grand Tour. Nicest shape in a while, maybe the first one to beat the Laguna Estate and you can get a 240HP 3.0 TDi V6.
    <img src="http://www.citroenpic.com/citroen/car/pictures/2010/03/cit-c5-tourer-2009-02.jpg"/&gt;

  13. Cynic Avatar

    Renault in hopes they make an Alpine A110 successor. But I'm not well-versed in French cars so I may be missing many other good things…

  14. mdharrell Avatar

    "Back" in the question indicates we're limited to marques that would be returning to the US market, which leaves out so many fresh options. I'd like to see the 'voiture sans permis' class of vehicle over here as a much more useful adjunct to our domestic NEV category.
    There are so many French manufacturers of vehicles which truly represent "the lowest levels of the French auto industry," next to which a Smart is gigantic. Here's a Ligier with a Mercedes A-Class for scale:
    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5044/5327115049_749745e13e.jpg&quot; width="400">
    It's street-legal there and should be street-legal here. Yes, I'm serious.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      The website that answers the question, "What is Gsan sperm?"

    2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Once again Madhatterell does not fail to entertain.

  15. BGW Avatar

    Given the amount of teenage time I spent in my best friend's 505, Peugeot gets the nod purely for selfish nostalgic reasons. And I kinda dig the 508 as 4-door sedans go.
    I wouldn't cry over Renault or Citroen, though. I'd rock one just to bewilder some of my fellow commuters.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I hate to break it to you, but rare is the fellow commuter who will even even notice what cars surround them.

      1. sketchler Avatar

        I have a feeling that Renault ghetto booty would be noticed by all but the most distracted of commuters, especially if that booty is attached to an Avantime.

  16. skitter Avatar

    Not like the spacious Citroens of hydropneumatic fame,
    Or conquering Peugeots astride from corner to corner;
    Here at my oil-stained garage doors shall stand
    A tiny Renault with a motor, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Slayer of Giants. From her beacon-eyes
    Glows world-wide hoonage; her small tyres command
    The winding rivers that twin pavements frame.
    "Keep modern tracks, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With intake scream. Give me your hatchbacks, your Alpines,
    Your huddled commuters yearning to run free,
    The depreciated rulers of your teeming curbs.
    Send these, the outdated, mileage-worn to me,
    I lift four points beside the rollup door.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      I love you

    2. engineerd Avatar

      Well done, skitter. Well done.

  17. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    Having been a Renault tech back in the early 70s, I wouldnt mind seeing them return. 3 lug nuts per wheel, different wheelbases on each side, powdered iron magnetic clutches, analog computer controlled 3 speed manual shifters, camshaft driven A/C compressors, 4 on the tree, and a ride like a Cadillac on the worst roads you can find. OUI, OUI!!

    1. FЯeeMan Avatar

      Among all that weird, the one that stands out is different wheelbases? Wha?????

  18. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Citroen would shake things up a bit. And my friend sure loved her 604 and 405 STi Pugs. But I've got to go with Alpine or Matra.

  19. CJinSD Avatar

    Nissan is one French car company too many as far as I'm concerned.

  20. Lotte Avatar

    I wasn't around when French cars were sold, but I'd like to see Alpines on our shore. If Renault decides to resurrect the brand, it'll hopefully be a crazy strange car with a V6 mounted way in the back and eccentric styling. Or they can just build the A310 again; such a cool car! I have one in Gran Turismo, but it's not that fast and I spin it out quite a lot. But its so cool! Like a cut-rate Porsche with futuristic styling!
    So to answer the question, Renault, because then it'll be one more step closer to Alpine ownership! (ok, not really…)

    1. tonyola Avatar

      The US nearly got the Alpine GTA in the late '80s. Renault/AMC was planning to bring over the GTA and there were even some hints dropped in AMC/Jeep ads at the time. However, when Chrysler took over, the idea of importing the GTA was killed off. The GTA might have failed anyway – Renault quality at near-Porsche 944 prices wasn't exactly what American buyers were looking for, even if the cars were good looking.

      1. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

        For the likely result, see Subaru SVX…

    2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      I also have an unexplained A310 lust. Alas, I have only ever seen them on the youtubes…

      1. scroggzilla Avatar

        There's nothing inexplicable about A310 lust.
        <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3486/3969644746_8e121a0886.jpg&quot; width="500" height="329" alt="76 rallye du var frequelin alpine a310" />
        It's perfectly normal.

  21. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Um, Peugette. Obviously.

  22. Marius Avatar

    An outrageous Delahaye would be nice.

  23. engineerd Avatar

    It's funny you should ask this, because this morning I was getting caught up on my Automotive News and they had a bunch on Fiat for obvious reasons. That got me to thinking, "Self, this is cool that Fiat is making a comeback. And if they can capitalize on their small, European-flavored cars with good fuel economy they should do well. Especially considering oil is sitting at $88 a barrel and gas is north of $3/gal. I wonder, self, if it would be time for a French make to come back? Add a little flavor to our dull automotive landscape?"
    So then I went on a mental journey to figure out which one I would like to see the most. I think if I could only pick one it would be Renault. My reasoning is simple: a Megane RS is probably the most serious contender to the Focus RS. If Renault were to storm our shores with a hot hatch like the Megane RS, it may trigger Ford to respond in defense with the Focus RS.
    Even if they didn't bring the Megane RS over here, and no matter which of the Big 3 French carmakers came, they would have to work hard to become sales successes. However, if they could do so it would hopefully force Honda and Toyota to add some flavor to their model lineup.

  24. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    As the spouse of a smart owner, I can honestly say "Them French are some funny people".

  25. buzzboy7 Avatar

    Seeing that we can't get a nice manual diesel Aygo in the US how about bringing in the Citroën C1 instead?

    1. tonyola Avatar

      54 hp and 0-60 in 15 seconds is pretty sad. Are you really so desperate for 49 mpg that you'll put up with this little penalty box? I like tiny cars – I owned a CRX for 10 years – but there damn well better be some fun involved, too.

    2. Jim-Bob Avatar

      I was thinking the same thing! I LOVE the Aygo, but having one with a Citroen badge would make it all the better. As far as acceleration goes, I own 2 Geo Metros and don't find a 14 second 0-60 time to be a handicap at all in suburban traffic. Plus, it's small and I really dig tiny 4 seater hatchbacks. They are the best possible compromise in a time of impending $5 a gallon gas. I'll take mine in white, please!

  26. Paul_y Avatar

    There are a number of Citroens I am enamoured with — the C4, C6, and DS4 spring to mind.

  27. TurboBrick Avatar

    Citroen, without a doubt. The hydropneumatic ride is superb, and I think they have some of the most creative and original looking designs today. C6 with a vee-six and transmision automatique would make commutes and road trips like floating on a cloud.

  28. MadKaw Avatar

    Spotted a Renault Megane in my neighborhood a few days ago. Not sure exactly what year it was, but was definitely recent – had to be less than 5 years old judging by the styling. Of course I have no idea why this particular French machine happened to be in Fort Collins, Colorado, but the plates did appear to be from outside the US, although they were too obscured by dirty snow to tell exactly where the car was registered. Certainly was one of the most unlikely car spottings I've had recently, though!

    1. TurboBrick Avatar

      Probably Mexican plates. Here in South Texas seeing Renaults, Seats, Peugeots and Euro-Fords from Mexico isn't all that uncommon.

  29. Ryans92L Avatar

    I will take a Peugeot 205 with a little group B on top
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Peugeot206Turbo16_1.jpg&quot; width=500>

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