Are french cars losing their character??
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts purrr-geot's Avatar
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    Icon13 Are french cars losing their character??

    I've been wanting to get your thoughts on this for a while now & one certain thread in the pug section has made me do so.

    Does anyone think that french cars are now boring? Have the PSA group & renualt-nissan gone money hungry?

    French cars for me is a perfect representation of french culture, well IT WAS, like french clothing & style, French cars were daring, different & still stylish at the same time. Even in a pack of well designed european cars you could still tell which car was french, however today i look at a peugeot 307 & think its a Honda Jazz.

    Have our french car companies lost their roots? Have they forgotten why people loved their cars? Is it more about gaining greater market share than impressing or providing enthusiasts with something to cheer about.

    I'd love to see the membership numbers of our various car clubs in 20 years time & compare them to now, to be honest i do worry about the possibility that we may no longer have a car club to be a member of in 20 years time.

    Anyway, what do you guys think, have the 3 french companies gone soft & producing market happy cars?

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  2. #2
    Banned orestes's Avatar
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    well as with regards to peugeot the 07 disease definatelly does exsist, and i can say when i think of the 07 series i think of a damn ugly car, but thats not to say that they don't have there own style, all be it ugly. the only 07 series pug i find remotely stylish is the 307cc but each to there own

    on another note i just posted 106 posts

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
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    Yes.
    Ugly boring and not especially comfy.
    If there is a 'club' in 20 years who would want to belong to it. I will be the old fart crapping on about how good 405's were, and how your modern stuff just can't compete.

    ............ Hang on. That already sounds like me............
    Last edited by Warwick; 25th May 2004 at 09:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger! briz205's Avatar
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    Hey Guys,

    This is my 2 cents only. I think other manufactures are designing cars more like the french. People love the design. Also you must remeber psa still need to sell cars so they change to suit the market. I wouldn't say the 505 was stylish looks like a bluebird or corona to me? Tho i have one and can tell you it don't drive like them! I think you will also find clubs around in 20 yrs and you are right we will all be there saying how good the 205 and 405 where just like current members complaining about them being too flash. Go with the times boy.

    Cheers Nick

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=purrr-geot] Is it more about gaining greater market share than impressing or providing enthusiasts with something to cheer about.
    [QUOTE]

    Umm....yip, that it'd be the whole of it.....

    I think Renault is the ONLY French car maker still trying different things eg - MeganeII/Val Satan/Avantime, and lets face it, you aint going to confuse a MeganeII for a Honda Jazz in a hurry......

    It's just a pity that they have had to resort to cosmetic means to differentiate themselves from the others.

    It used to be ride/handling/and packaging (eg: R16) but everyone else has caught up (overtaken in some respects) and there is little room for improvement in these areas now.

    If you have sat in a Honda Jazz you'd know what I mean......they have more space than a bloody 307 (or atleast they feel like they do).....pity it handles like a wet blanket....

  6. #6
    nJm
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    I agree to some extent. I certainly think Peugeot and Citroen have been guilty of this. I saw a Pug 605 the other day, and I had to look at it twice to make sure it wasn't an old Maxima type thing. There have been some very ugly/boring Pugs. I tend to think of the 205 and 405 (non sporty models), and the 309. The 307 is bland, but not ugly. I don't even mind the 407 or 607 that much.

    However I do think the bigger issue is in terms of actually driving the car. I've driven a few 206s, a 307, a Xantia and two C3's. The Xantia had very nice, traditional french seats. The rest don't really offer that much. The ride quality in the 206 and 307 is average at best, the steering feedback is only ok once at high speeds, the seats are very hard and lacking in support, the driving positions have only become worse since their 80s cars. Petrol engines are still asthmatic, automatic gearboxes are still weird, manuals still feel a bit fluffy. To be honest, I don't think I'd even consider one of these if I was in the market for a car like that.

    They are trying to fix things up though. I've just read CAR's review of the 407 2L. They report it having good ride quality, great handling with nice steering, and large, soft seats. Citroen's upcoming C4 and C6 look interesting (actually, the C6 might be one of the most interesting looking cars in its class when it comes out).


    Renault aren't doing too badly. From what I gather the Megane II isn't that hot to drive, but is very comfortable. They look great too.


    I think the main issue is that all the competition has moved on. Back in the 50s, 60s and 70s the French were in most regards leagues above the rest. However in 2004 even the most mundane Holden or Honda can go around corners at high speeds and drive over bumpy surfaces.
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  7. #7
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    I'd disagree too. It's easy to say the 307 is bland, as is the Megane to a certain degree. But this is the bread and butter car in Europe, it has to be played pretty safe.

    Future Citroens, Peugeots and Renaults will still have character in my opinion. The new Xsara (C4) looks like it'll be nice, they're talking about making the Air Dream. I think Citroens are going to have a heap of design flair there. The new 407 looks *alright* in the flesh, too.

    What other character traits are you after? Quirky interiors that don't work too well?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by purrr-geot
    Have they forgotten why people loved their cars? Is it more about gaining greater market share than impressing or providing enthusiasts with something to cheer about.
    Would you prefer they kept going with their old philosophy and slowly went broke? Would that leave french car addicts better off?

    The present (or the past) is not an alternative option for the future. Everything changes.

    I think peugeot's sales successes with the 206 and 307 in Europe in particular should have them pretty pleased with themselves. No doubt that they can make better cars (and they will have to in the future or they will lose market share and start to go broke again) but people have voted with their wallets and endorsed their current compromise between practability, driveability and cost.

    Sure the honda's and toyota's (seen a new corolla lately?) have copied the look of the 307, but imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Again, I think peugeot would be pretty pleased with themselves.

  9. #9
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    I must add though that many of the current breed of French cars (minus the soon to be replaced Clio) have lost that dynamic edge that French cars are reknown for. This will come back, I'm certain of. Just look at the Golf, after building up the brand with quality and a bit of blandness, then Mark V is a sensational car to drive (apparently).

  10. #10
    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
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    I agree witha bit of what is being said here. I think Renault and Citroen are miles ahead of Peugeot in terms of character. We have to strike a balance.
    I think people need to realise like lincoln said these cars are bread and butter cars in europe and sell well.
    The new Megane, 307cc, C3, Airlounge are great cars in terms of character and I think they are great cars as in "sellers".
    Someone else said on here that people need to look at other cars like mitsubishi, toyota and the horrid like and relaise that our cars are pretty good. Even the CX and DS, 2CV to this day....
    People on here know that I have a love for things French and French cars and I think French are miles ahead...(im bonkers they say....)

  11. #11
    XTC
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielsydney
    I agree witha bit of what is being said here. I think Renault and Citroen are miles ahead of Peugeot in terms of character. We have to strike a balance.
    The Japanese go through bouts of boring cars, then get release a stunner, PSA is no different, balancing safety considerations, public perception, performance and efficiency can't be easy. And when it comes to CD (drag co-efficient) cars will also end up looking similar ... petrol will be $10/litre one day.

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