Like many other European automakers, France has a long-running history manufacturing cars and trucks. The manufacturers in this country have been able to produce quality vehicles for over a century and make some of the most efficient, popular and luxurious cars today.
Citroën was founded in 1919 by André Citroën. The 1934 Traction Avant was one of the first front-wheel drive cars to be produced, as well as offering a number of other features considered to be revolutionary at the time. Today, Citroën makes several different automobiles ranging from economic sub-compacts to mid-size sedans. The Citroën C4 is currently being used in the World Rally Championship.
Once a bicycle and pepper mill manufacturer, Peugeot has been building automobiles for over a century and has grown to be a leader in the French market. The Peugeot bicycle company split from its automotive counterpart in 1926. Today, the sub-compact 206 is the most popular model, and the same model used for the WRC Peugeot race team. Aside from competing in the WRC, the company also participates in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and has built engines for Formula One race teams; most notable being the McLaren team in 1994.
In 1999, Renault joined forces with Nissan, making it the fourth-largest auto manufacturer in the world. Today, the company builds several different vehicles, ranging from compacts to trucks and tractors. Their most popular vehicle is the Clio, which offers a variety of different options including a fuel-efficient diesel-powered model and a sport model with a high-power V6. Renault also runs a very successful Formula 1 race team.
Bugatti began manufacturing cars in 1909. Throughout the 20th century, the company had success in auto racing and building high-end luxury cars. Volkswagen purchased the rights to Bugatti in 1998, making it a French-made/German-owned company. The flagship vehicle of this company is no doubt the Veyron 16.4. This car features a W16 quad-turbo engine, capable of 1001 horsepower and a top speed of 253 MPH.
French auto manufacturers are able to create attractive and desirable vehicles, but because of the stringent U.S. emissions and safety standards, the majority of these cars are not sold in America. It is possible, however, to purchase some of these vehicles overseas and import them after properly conforming them to meet the Department of Transportation regulations.
- Andre Citroen: Engineer, Explorer, Entrepreneur; John Reynolds; 2006
- Citroen Traction Avant; Jon Pressnell; 2006
- Bugatti: The Man and the Marque; Jonathan Wood and Barrie; 2007
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