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  #1  
Old 02-06-2002, 08:37 PM
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Why aren't French/Italians Imported?

I think that it based on the fact that there is not a big enough market for these cars over here on this side of the pond.

Why is my reply the first post on this page?

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Old 02-06-2002, 09:29 PM
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Why aren't French/Italians Imported?

I would like to know why French and Italian cars are not imported into North America? You never see Renaults, Citroen, Alfas(new), Lancia, etc. You don't see Seats or Skodas either.

Are these cars not imported because they would not be popular among North American buyers or are there some safety issues, or maybe quotas?

I ask this because I saw an old Citroen(from the early 70s I think) out on the island yesterday. The guy pulled up to the curb, pushed a button to lower the car and got out, neat. I assume he had some kind of mechanism to lower and raise the car
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Old 02-06-2002, 10:10 PM
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Lightbulb Marketing 101...

Any product is imported or exported on the basis of the ability of a marketer and sales force to sell that product in a given market with the assistance of advertising and public relations campaigns.

They all used to be. I can remember when there were dealerships that specialized in a variety of imported cars. There was Austin-Healey, Jensen, Rover, MG, Triumph, Rolls Royce/Bentley, Cooper, Sterling, Lotus, Aston-Martin/Lagonda, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Pantera, Lamborghini, Facel-Vega, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, and Yugo.

Some of them even tried alliances with American car companies to keep their hand in the American market (Buick-Opel, Chrysler-Maserati, etc). But the bottom line is sales and saleability. If people won't support you by buying your products, you will have to "downsize" your market, and even eventually withdraw from it. As all of these companies did.

British cars had poor electrical systems, often overheated, and leaked oil, French cars were pure crap in terms of serviceability, and the Italian cars were finicky and required too much maintenance (hence the slur for Fiat meaning Fix It Again, Tony). The others simply did not meet the needs of a "maturing" American car market.

If you want to be boggled by the names of cars that were sold in this country, go to:

http://www.collectorcartraderonline.com/adsearch.html

And do a search through the various car brands. You might be amazed...

As for the Citroen, the owner of the one you saw, actually lowered the car via a lever that purges the suspension system of all fluid, and thereby lowers the car. This procedure is not required to park it, just an affectation. I owned two Citroens. They were smooth, comfortable, weird as hell is during winter, and very unreliable.

That's essentially why they all lost their markets in the U.S., and haven't regained them.
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Old 02-06-2002, 11:29 PM
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tkamiya, where in Orlando is the Alfa Romeo dealership?
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Old 02-07-2002, 12:10 AM
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Well I just wondered because I know the French often complain that the USA places unfair tarifs on French luxury goods--- Alcohol, clothes, cheese, etc. I was thinking these tarifs if applied to cars would push French cars sold in the USA off the scale.
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Old 02-07-2002, 10:14 AM
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that citroen, etc. etc.

i believe that might have been a DS 21 - did it look like a streamlined clamshell? really fancy self adjusting suspension which you saw in action. i myself occasionally suffer from bouts of weird car affection. i have had renaults - quirky little cars. too bad they never brought the R5 here. i also always fancied fiats and lancias. the x 1/9 was one of the cars i was always hunting down but never got. bottom line is that without a solid US partnership, it is hard for other european carmakers to penetrate the market here. all the certifications are a tremendous overhead.

BTW, Alfa Romeo has been out of the US market for awhile. i don't doubt that you would see an Alfa Romeo dealership because i've seen them in NY / NJ. i'd love to get a GTV but where can you get a good one (for a reasonable price)? sort of like my search for a mini cooper - but leave that for another thread. brit cars are in a category all their own...
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Old 02-07-2002, 11:47 AM
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I personally disagree with the serviceability of Peugeots. I think they are a well laid out car with nothing impossible to get to. Which is a good thing cause you have to get to everything often. Compared to Japanese cars their reliability wasnít very good. I think the reason the French donít sell Peugeots here is their attitude, they thing the car is so good it should sell itself. But even if everybody thought it was it still wouldnít sell. Even Mercedes advertises. I think the US economy is advertising based (the economic stimulus package should go to advertising.)

Those cars that were mentioned were a blast to drive but this is a democracy, majority rules. People that buy cars that are a blast to drive are a minority.

There was another alliance, Renault and American Motors. That didnít last long, thankfully.
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Old 02-07-2002, 12:11 PM
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Lightbulb MINI Cooper?

The have announced plans to re-enter the market here in the spring of 2002. The cars will sell for $16,850 to $19,850.

Go to: http://www.miniusa.com



And Jim, I didn't mean serviceability as in able to be serviced, or ease of access for repair. I meant it from the standpoint of useful life of service. Again, not service as in repair, service as in usefulness before needing another repair...
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Old 02-07-2002, 12:18 PM
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On the topic of advertising, it is interesting to note Ferrari's advertising budget: $0. That's right, Ferrari spends nothing on marketing or ads. In their mind, their racing efforts are all the advertising they need, and that budget is, I imagine, huge.
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Old 02-07-2002, 12:52 PM
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Hmmm! I wonder if the fact that most of them are JUNK could have anything to do with it? The other reason could be that most of them are tiny.

Have a great day,
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Old 02-07-2002, 04:06 PM
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yes mini coopers, but the ones that leaked oil

...like most brit cars.

Scott, I do like the new German mini, but I liked the old ones better. To get one together in good shape would have cost as much as the w124 that I wound up buying recently. The original Cooper was something else, it was the terror of the short racing circuit for a long time. There was that feeling of racing along at 100 mph on a skateboard, or at least that's how close to the ground it felt...
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Old 02-07-2002, 05:07 PM
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Larry good one! But seriously I think the real problem had to do with exchange rates and tariffs of european goods. The energy crisis was also a huge factor. The cars were junk, yes, but they were no more junky than the old hondas and datsuns(nissans) of that era. The problem was they could not compete. After all was said and done they had to charge higher prices to the US consumer. Lets face it why buy a peogeot junk for more money than a datsun junk. Just buy the datsun and be done with it. Besides the japanese cars had 'marathon' engines, they just kept going with less gas. The europeans didn't stand a chance. If the Detriot boys were located in some foreign land they wouldn't have stood a chance either.

Nowadays they just can't be bothered sending cars over here. They would have to start from scratch. Can you imagine trying to sell a 405 sedan in the current Accord, Camry, Jetta, Malibu, Taurus, Impala, BMW and Mercedes climate. Talk about an uphill battle.... You'd have to give the cars away like the Koreans are doing.
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Old 02-07-2002, 07:26 PM
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I believe Mercedes got here as a supplement to Studebaker and it was intended to be a foreign competitor to Mercury
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Old 02-07-2002, 08:24 PM
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I had two French cars, a Renault 16 in the early 70's and a Renault something else in the early 80's. The 16 initially had a significant engine mis-fire problem that they couldn't fix, and then it just went away. Then the car was great. It was very smooth with great suspension and very comfortable, and very reliable. It was a kind of funny looking car though, and I think that's why they were never popular. (Like Citroen?)

The other Renault was just awful. It also had a number of problems. The car was being marketed by AMC and the dealer had no idea how to do anything with the car. I eventually had the dealer take back the car and give me a Mazda 626, a good but boring car. A friend got a similar Renault at the time, and he ended up suing AMC over it. A big problem was that the dealer mechanics had no idea how to work on the cars.

I've never had an Italian car, but everyone I ever knew who did had lots of problems with them. I don't know if they're any better now.

Having said all that, I think I'd still rather have a French or Italian car over a Japanese one. I've had several Japanese cars and they have all been very trouble free but all very boring, with no "feel" to them.
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Old 02-08-2002, 07:14 AM
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My comments were not only aimed at the Renaults and such that were sold her forty years ago. In the past few years I have driven some rent cars in Europe. The only ones that seemed to be worth having were all German, Opel, MB, Audi. The ones that wouldn't be worth the cost to ship them back home were Citroen, Renault and Fiat(French and Italian.)

I think the French and Italians should stick with making wine and leave auto manufacturing to someone else. There are a few expensive exceptions to this rule, of course.

Have a great day,

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