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Old 02-01-2010, 03:42 AM   #1
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Do any of you guys drive a European car that's not German?

I was wondering today,
I know that BMW and Mercedes are very popular in the States, but what about the French and Italian manufacturers?
Are Citroen,Peugeot,Renault or Fiat taken seriously over in the USA or are they viewed as slightly eccentric oddities?
When I have seen a French car in an American film etc they seem to be objects of ridicule.
What do you guys think!


Last edited by Christian H; 02-01-2010 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:49 AM   #2
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The vast majority of European cars in the states are either German or English.
Italian cars are limited to Ferrari, Lamborghini, and a couple of other exotics; French cars aren't sold at all!

I think with the large market share Japan has in the industry, it is too hard for French companies to set up shop here.
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:38 AM   #3
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I've sat in a Peugeot 206 few years back in Hong Kong. Neat little car, but requires a lot of servicing once it gets older with more mileage.

Yes the French can't build good cars until you watch this video (especially the last 20 seconds).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik9aEet5Um8
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:12 AM   #4
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In the UK, small French and Italian Cars are very popular, probably because their they're cheaper than the German equivalent.
Whilst the small German cars have built a reputation for build quality, you can't touch a small Italian car for 'character'

I have a little Fiat Punto Sporting which get me to the Train Station ever day - a 6 mile round trip. You wouldn't beleive teh fun you can have with a 1.2litre 16valve engine that produces 90bhp and weighs around 1900 lbs


(But the best bit is it cost me $500!)


Edit - Oh and Ekam, I think you'll find that Bugatti is an Italian name, now built by Germans

Last edited by Gary H; 02-01-2010 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian H
I was wondering today,
I know that BMW and Mercedes are very popular in the States, but what about French and Italian manufacturers?
Are Citroen,Peugeot,Renault or Fiat taken seriously over in the USA or are they viewed as slightly eccentric oddities?
When I have seen a French car in American films etc they seem to be a figure of redicule.
What do you guys think!
Citroen, Peugeot, Renault, Alpha Romeo and Fiat all abandoned our market in the 80s. The Swedes, English and the Germans are the only Europeans selling non-exotic cars in the US. Jag hasn't been down on the lower end of the marked for a few years, since the X-type went away. Every once in a while we get a rebadged Opel or Euro-designed Ford. There are strong plans to bring Fiats back now that they own Chrysler. I'm looking forward to seeing the newer Fiats on the roads here, they're cool looking.

Last edited by blue2000s; 02-01-2010 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:40 AM   #6
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My wife's car is Indian: Jaguar.


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Old 02-01-2010, 06:06 AM   #7
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Technically owned by Tata, but if there was any Indian involvement in the design it'd have seating for 14 with gold-plated tissue boxes on the rear shelf.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:30 AM   #8
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Renault, Puegot, of France and Fiat from Italy were all sold in the 1970's in the US. Slow sales combined with reliabilty and service issues,
whether real or perceived, doomed them all. It must have proven a bitter pill, as none has returned.

My 1974 Fiat 128SL Coupe, purchased new, was a pile of junk. My father in law had a Renault R10....underpowered, but a nice car otherwise.

Let's not forget the Britmobiles in this comparo. I had both an 65 MG Midget, and 59 MGA. Fun yes, but not very reliable with their 1930's technology,
just like the oil dripping / kick starting Brit motorcycles of the era. The Japanese taught them both a lesson.

My SAAB 95 and two 99's were unique, and ahead of their time. I didn't think any were oddities, but to most American's accustomed to
oversized US made clunkers, they likely were.

It appears that Fiat will be returning now that it owns Chrysler. I always liked the French cars, and would like to see them return.
They sure have cleaned up recently in the World Rally Championship's.

Negative perception is a hard thing to shake, whether it be French, Italian, Brit, or ... drum roll please.... American cars.
Even the iconic Corvette, much loved in the US, is generally seen as a heap of low quality, poor handling, flimbsy plastic in Europe.
The overall US perception is that Japanese, German, and to a lesser extent Swedish cars are quality machines, hence their popularity here.

On the other hand, as a biker, I get all teary eyed at the sight of most any exotic Italian motorcycle.... be it MV Agusta, Aprilia, Ducati, Moto Guzzi !!

Thanks for letting me ramble down memory lane......Tom

My Rotax V-twin powered Aprilia and twin turbo BMW... Belissima und Wunderbar
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Last edited by Werks; 02-01-2010 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werks
Renault, Puegot, of France and Fiat from Italy were all sold in the 1970's in the US. Slow sales combined with reliabilty and service issues,
whether real or perceived, doomed them all. It must have proven a bitter pill, as none has returned.

My 1974 Fiat 128SL Couple, purchased new, was a pile of junk. My father in law had a Renault R10....underpowered, but a nice car otherwise.

Let's not forget the Britmobiles in this comparo. I had both an 65 MG Midget, and 59 MGA. Fun yes, but not very reliable with their 1930's technology,
just like the oil dripping / kick starting Brit motorcycles of the era. The Japanese taught them both a lesson.

My SAAB 95 and two 99's were unique, and ahead of their time. I didn't think any were oddities, but to most American's accustomed to
oversized US made clunkers, they likely were.

It appears that Fiat will be returning now that it owns Chrysler. I always liked the French cars, and would like to see them return.
They sure have cleaned up recently in the World Rally Championship's.

Negative perception is a hard thing to shake, whether it be French, Italian, Brit, or ... drum roll please.... American cars.
Even the iconic Corvette, much loved in the US, is generally seen as a heap of low quality, poor handling, flimbsy plastic in Europe.
The overall US perception is that Japanese, German, and to a lesser extent Swedish cars are quality machines, hence their popularity here.

On the other hand, as a biker, I get all teary eyed at the sight of most any exotic Italian motorcycle.... be it MV Agusta, Aprilia, Ducati, Moto Guzzi !!

Thanks for letting me ramble down memory lane......Tom

My Rotax powered Aprilia and twin turbo BMW... Belissima und Wunderbar
In Northern California, I see Renaults, Peugots and Fiats with some concerning frequency. It's concerning because I'm quite sure that they are the Ford Pinto's of Europe... and they haven't evolved much more than a Ford Pinto had in the 70's... Oy.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary H
Edit - Oh and Ekam, I think you'll find that Bugatti is an Italian name, now built by Germans
You're correct for the first part, but it's built in France and owned by Germans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugatti_Veyron
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary H
Technically owned by Tata, but if there was any Indian involvement in the design it'd have seating for 14 with gold-plated tissue boxes on the rear shelf.
I drive land Rovers (I have three) and actually I think the Tata acquisition probably saved the marque from the Ford overlords who did very little for the brand long term.

Ford:

1. Raided the technology of LR and spread it to its other brands (like HDC to Volvo)
2. Put LR signature styling on Ford pickup trucks and Edge to name a few
3. Watered down the models by compressing the roll out cycle, buyers could not keep them straight, is it a sport or a range rover or LR3?
4. Closed down the Rover V8 engine line and comingled supply lines (Jag engines in LR)
5. Abandoned the traditional customer for upscale customers only

If LR had not been sold when it was then I fear it would have been killed just like GM did with many of its brands.

Porsche was very lucky to become part of VW, at least they are staying true to the things that made the brand worth buying.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:23 AM   #12
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My second car

is a 2004 VW Touareg, made in the same factory as the Cayenne and shares at least 60% of the components.
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werks
The overall US perception is that Japanese, German, and to a lesser extent Swedish cars are quality machines, hence their popularity here.
Gotta disagree with you about Swedish cars having a quality image here. Saab and Volvo have been popular among certain demographics in certain geographic areas - for who knows what reason. Saab for many years has been at or very near the absolute bottom in terms of quality, reliability and resale value (fighting for the bottom spot with Land Rover), and Volvo has been pretty consistently far below average.

In terms of market share they're both fly specks compared to the German competition, which isn't large to begin with. Both have been huge money losers for their parent companies despite billions invested. Saab was just saved from being euthanized and Ford can't push Volvo off on the Chinese fast enough.

So maybe the quality image is there for some people, but it hasn't turned into sales, market share gains or profits.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:40 PM   #14
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Yes - Jaguar

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Old 02-02-2010, 02:56 AM   #15
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I heard a long time ago that "Renault" was French for "walk".
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:36 AM   #16
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My wife and I have had 5 Volvos over the past 25 years, and with the exception of normal maintenance the only recurrent problem that was front strut failure at about 100k. we have put on in excess of 160k on each of them with the only problem being an idler tensioner going out on an 850 with 220k on the clock. With the 5 cyc. turbo they are great highway tourers and perform well in the snowny winters of NEPA. If you remember when the first C70's came out the auto press was all gaga over then, with every right. We had a C70 droptop and it was a really fine auto. Great cars. The only Peugot I ever bought I still have--a 1976 10 speed. Fantastic bike for the era and I still use it ocassionally.

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Old 02-02-2010, 06:57 PM   #17
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I have only owned two non American cars; the first was a Jaguar and the second a Porsche. I still have both and have been very happy with them. I gave up on American luxury cars when I purchased a Cadillac DeVille DTS for my wife, I had never had as many problems with any other car that I had ever owned as I did with that Cadillac. That was the last straw and it would be hard for anyone to sell me another American car so if my wife decides to get rid of her Jaguar I will be looking for something foreign( not a Toyota).
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:38 AM   #18
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I've had some different euro-cars

In order dating back approx. 30 years ago.

1970 MGB (first car) stood for Money Gone or Money Gone Bad
'73 vw bug
'71 volvo 145 (mustard color)
'77 Saab 99 (brown and the worst car I ever owned)
'80 LeCar (paid $1k for it with 11,000 mi. on it... actually was a good car!)
'74 vw thing
'63 vw bug
'79 Triumph Spitfire TR5 (brg with tan interior, beautiful!)
'80 Volvo 245 (blue, over 200k when I bought it, had been pulled behind a RV for years, with not really that many "engine" miles on it)
'84 bmw 318
'69 mercedes 280S (had 315k when I sold it)
'81 mercedes 300 D (non-turbo)
'98 bmw z3
'85 mercedes 300D turbo
'97 bmw z3
'03 bmw Z4
'02 bmw 325 CiC

These are the ones I can remember. I'm in my mid 40's and I've owned approx. 100 cars since 1980. Do I have a problem? Probably.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:24 AM   #19
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I had a '91 Saab 900S and as far as styling, character, and design it was great. A quirky car with European flair. Mechanically it was crap. Broken down more than I drove it and severely underpowered. Great looking car, Red with tan interior, looked new til the day I had it towed away.
My current VW has been the most reliable car for me so far, bought new in '04 as a DD with no problems at all despite living with it through the high heat of the Arizona summers and several Alaskan winters with temps down to -65F. Always started on the first try, never let me down.
American cars I've owned have been fairly reliable. I've had my '74 Bronco for almost 18 yrs now and it still keeps on going.
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:34 PM   #20
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This is from VEHIX.com's list of the top 10 cars that never stop:

"3. Scandinavian oddities

For years, some of the older European models were notoriously unreliable, and yet, those same Volvos and Saabs hold some of the automotive world records for longevity. A 1989 Saab 900 SPG previously owned by a Wisconsin salesman now sits in a museum with its original engine, having turned over 1 million miles, and a New York schoolteacher holds the world-record with the 2.5 million miles put on his 1966 Volvo P1800. Go figure."

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