Monday, January 23, 2006


Nissan and Renault

While I'm not a big fan of badge engineering, such as the way General Motors likes to operate on the global level, but I do see it as a means for parent companies to get their products into markets they aren't prominent in, while having child ventures entrenched.

What I'm talking about is Renault and Nissan. Renault is the parent company of Nissan motor cars, and while Renault doesn't sll cars in the United State due to image and costs, why not having Nissan (which does sell cars in the US, and does hold a decent image in the market) sell a badge engineered version of the Megane or Clio, or the Clio 182 Trophy?

These are vehicles that if sold here would sell, I don't think there is any doubt there. There is a dealer network, so parts and maintenance wouldn't be an issue. I think they have an opportunity to sell their developed products in the United States without said products having to carry the baggage of the stigma (in the US) of being a Renault, and some would say even worse, being French.

What do others think about this. I know I'd love to get my hands on a Clio here, but I just don't see it happening under the Renault name due to the pig headed mentality of the Red state 'Mericans. Your thoughts?


The Megane, from what I've read and heard should be able to pass safety standards with ease, and I can't imagine their petrol engines couldn't be made to pass emissions, so it could sell here.

I'm not familiar with the Clio, only that it's about the size of a Ford Fiesta. Again it could be brought to US spec. And possibly sell well enough.

But do you dilute the brand by rebadging? Why not just piggy back on the Nissan dealer network? Offer Nissan dealers some incentive to make space for Renault sales and service at existing locations. Sell the Renault as a near premium brand in markets like NY and California first then spread across the heartland.

I'm no fan of the French and not really of Renault's styling. I can't stand that bustle back look. I don't see them selling well, not just because they're French, but because of cost.

I don't think Renault would try and bring models to the US as Nissan, too much of a risk to both brand identities. More likely, in time Renault will try to crack the near luxury segment, then bring in smaller models.

But with Renault's latest trend of pulling out of markets, don't expect them to come to the US until at least 2010.
I'm not a fan of badge engineering, with very few exceptions. This being one of them only because of the vehement hatred many people in the US (sadly) have against the french (how quickly they also forget that the French saved our asses too militarily as it were).

You idea of having a Renault shop in a Nissan dealership much like some select BMW dealers handle Mini makes ultimately the most sense, were it not for the abhorrent bigoted mindset of many which I feel would cause sales issues of what would otherwise sell well based on its actual credentials.

I don't know if we'll ever see the French on our shores again, but my fingers are crossed with high hopes. I know more than enough people who would die to get into another Renault, Citröen or Peugeot (mostly) again.

They are few and far between in the US, and most of those which are still here and in good shape can fetch a hefty price for the rarity.

Thanks for your submission as always.

Eric, I don't see the dislike of the French actually keeping their brands from reapearing on US shores. You forget how quickly Americans forget their hatred when money is involved.

I think the real stumbling block will be cost.

And in your comment you say that Americans forgot how the French saved our asses militarily. I was wondering when you are referrring to? As far as I know, and I was a history major, the last time the French helped the US was the Civil War, when they started to come in on the side of the Confederates. Unless of course you're talking about earlier in our Revolutionary war or before that the French and Indian wars?

In WWI the US came in late to assist the allies, in WWII we also came late to the war, but by that time the French were colaborating with the Nazis. In the 50's the French flexed their renewed military muscle in Vietnam and Algiers reasserting their colonial mandates. If you are referring to Korea, that was a UN police keeping war, and the French played no major role.

So tell me how have our good allies the French helped us in the last 50 years?? They oppose US policy not on it's merits, but because it is US policy. Talk about hatred and contept. The French hate the US as much or more as you think Americans hate French and have a dilusion of still being a player on the global political scene. French at one time was the international language of diplomacy, many today don't bother opting instead for English. Wonder why? Because the French are irrelivant on the world stage, politically and as a manufacturer of automobiles.

I stil think Renault will be on US shores within a decade, and possibly Citreon. But that doesn't mean I like the French.

I'm no fan of China either and I recognize that they will be a major force in the auto industry of the future, selling cars in the US and building vehicles,parts and assemblies to be shipped globally.
I was specifically thinking Revolutionary because it was really the only major opportunity they held to actually help the US in a manner closest to what we are today. I realise that in WWII they had "issues" which we helped them with, hence this is why they're not speaking German at the moment.

The French are very opinionated and not just as the US, but they do hold a strict view on certain issues and do not falter on said issues, money or not. They also do agree with us on many issues as well, I'm being vague here, but I believe you take any recent situation politically as such and see what I'm talking about. They deftly opposed the invasion, along with many others. They are not a "shoot first" country, endless debating and sanctioning is their way, and I'm not saying that's right or wrong, its just their way and point of view, as such, don't look for help from the French when we want to invade another country on one of our war kicks.

French is one of the two official languages of several world bodies, including the UN, the other being English. Outside of Asian dialects, French is second only to English in terms of usage globally, including for official reasons as well (not just France and Quebec).

They have become quite bitter over the years because of the growing insignificance of France on the world stage, but don't count them out, they didn't survive this long in general by being foolish.

As for what they've done for us? They've tried to keep us acting sensible and not like a bunch of war mongers, but we ignored them time and time again, hence the kerfuffle we've been in for years with invading here and there and being the big world bully as opposed to a good steward and example to follow globally, as it were.

All of that aside, I'd actually like to see Peugeot here more than Renault or Citroën, because I feel they have the nicest sense of style, though since there is a bit of crossover between the three, it isn't an absolute let down if they don't specifically make it to our shores again.
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