5 Cars Sold in Europe that We Are Being Denied
Updated December 5, 2014
While the next couple of years are going to see a massive influx of new European cars into this country such as the utterly adorable Fiat 500 thanks to Chrysler’s new Italian ties, for the most part the United States is usually denied access to the best vehicles that Europe has to offer. For example, why do manufacturers who are represented in every market around the world such as Peugeot/Citroen, Renault, Seat and Skoda refuse to sell their cars here? And why do some European automakers who do sell their cars here hold back some of their best models? To know that, I suppose you would have to learn to speak Italian, French, Spanish, Czechoslovakian or German because the heads of these European automakers show no signs of telling us in English. But which vehicles offered by these various manufacturers would most likely resonate with American buyers? Are some vehicles just too European to translate? Well, people thought the Mini would flop in the United States and we currently stands as the largest market for the itsy-bitsy premium hatch. In 18 months I have no doubt that this country will also be gripped by yet another overwhelming automotive trend that I will pre-name 3F-Fever or “Fiat 500 fever.” And during that time you will also see yet another miracle-actual lines of people waiting with cash in hand to buy something from a Chrysler/Fiat dealer. Here are five vehicles and model lines currently being sold in Europe that show no signs of ever appearing on U.S. soil:
Just last year VW resurrected the old Scirocco name for a stylish coupe based on the award winning GTI platform. While it does share the same engines, transmissions and a platform with the VW GTI, this strict four seater is far more stylish with a truly cohesive visual acumen. There really are no bad looking angles on this puppy and as with the GTI it is a true driver’s car. The interior is a little bit more upscale than the GTI and also comes as standard with VW group’s award winning adaptive suspension. Oh yes, and VW also managed to make it a couple grand cheaper than the GTI. A fact VW of America didn’t even necessarily have to pass on to consumers here. Can you say profit margin? So why don’t they sell the Scirocco here? Well it appears that VW of America dealers vetoed the notion of having to sell two sporty hatchbacks. Wouldn’t that have been just awful having too many great cars to sell? This is why VW of America never makes any money. This was an absolutely dreadful decision on their parts.
Citroen C5/C5 Touring
Decidedly French flair with utterly Germanic build quality? Impossible you say? Well you obviously haven’t been introduced to this wickedly good looking French hatch and wagon. The C5 wagon is so spacious and smooth riding with its pneumatic air suspension that it could easily fall onto any SUV buyer’s shopping list. Or it could at least give Audi wagons a run for their money.
Skoda is the Czechoslovakian budget arm of the VW group and its products routinely beat their Germanic peers in quality rankings. The Yeti is an SUV based on the VW Tiguan/Audi Q5 platform but has both of them beat for space and manages to look far better from a visual standpoint. By launching a true budget brand like Skoda on U.S. soil (Toyota’s Scion division ring a bell?) the VW group could increase sales volume and yet again start selling “people’s cars.”
How exactly did this French company create a sexy minivan? In addition to the curvaceous new 5008, Peugeot has elevated the interiors of its more budget 308 and 207 hatches of late to near premium status. The days of door handles and turn signals falling off in your hands are long gone for this French automaker. Peugeot also has yet another trick up its sleeve as it is preparing the launch of a new diesel/hybrid engine combination that promises up to 90 miles per gallon.
Citroen C3 Picasso
The interior of this impeccably styled all purpose MPV from Citroen is the closest any automaker has come to mimicking the appearance of an ipod white. All of the touch points and controls are squishy and tactile to the point of being cartoonish. Only the French could pull of a hatchback with this much utility and this much style. And you can get it with the turbocharged four cylinder from the Mini Cooper S. (Peugeot Citroen builds that engine for many of its vehicles under license from BMW/MINI).
Categories: Gear Grinding