We get some great automobiles here in America, but we miss out on others that don't sell here. Some brands tried their hands here and left our shores (possibly forever). Their vehicles may be forbidden fruit to us, but that doesn't exclude them from being top-notch automobiles. Here's a look at some of the automakers that left the American car market to sell fantastic cars in other parts of the world.
Peugeot and Citroën
Peugeot stopped selling cars in the U.S. in 1991, and Citroën stopped in 1989. Both are owned by PSA Group and since their departure, there have been no French automakers in the U.S. Renault left around the same time that both of these brands did, and no other automaker stepped in. Citroën has a very robust lineup, but with more U.S. shoppers going for crossovers, we could see some of the automaker's UK vehicles sell well here, including the C3 and C4 (the C3 Cactus is shown above).
Peugeot has a similar level of variety in its range of vehicles. One of its cars we'd like to see is the 308 GTi (shown above). It would bring a whole new kind of hot hatch to the American market with its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Surprisingly, the PSA Group is in the process of setting up a U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, GA, and it will likely start selling cars in the U.S. at some point down the road. Exactly which models it'll bring to the States, though, is not yet known.
Compared to Peugeot and Citroën, Suzuki left the American market recently. In 2012, the company packed up its U.S. business and decided to focus on other areas of the world. The Jimny is the automaker's true gem. There's a new Jimny for 2019 (shown above), and it's one of the coolest little off-roaders we've ever seen. It looks like a mini Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV, and it has the off-road equipment to beat just about every other 4x4 off the beaten path. It's like a tiny, Japanese Jeep Wrangler.
Then there's the little Ignis. This little beast looks about as good as any performance hatchback here in the states, including the fast and fetching Ford Focus RS. Though the Ignis is sold in Australia right now, there's word that there could be a high-performance Ignis
Renault experienced more success than most of the now defunct European automakers that tried to break into the American market. In the 1970s, Renault sold small and efficient cars during the oil crisis. The company partnered with now defunct automaker AMC to try and solidify itself in North America. Soon after teaming up, Renault bought the controlling stake of AMC. The company kept at the U.S. market until 1989. It stopped importing cars after that.
Today, Renault and Nissan are teamed up, and the French automaker is very successful. There have been rumors of Renault making a U.S. market comeback, but the company continues to shoot down the possibility. If it did come to the U.S., Renault has several vehicles that we'd love to see up close and in person, ranging from its CLIO hatchback to the Captur crossover. If we could pick only one car to come Stateside, it'd be the Renault CLIO RS (shown above), which is a legit hot hatch with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder.
Most people forget that Daihatsu tried to make sales success happen in the U.S. In the late 1980s, the company imported cars, but by the early 1990s, it was clearly not going to work out. Since then, Daihatsu has seen success in Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It has a good lineup, featuring everything from minitrucks and small vans to Kei cars. Our favorite, by far, is the super-cool Copen roadster.
The Copen (shown above) is a tiny car and features a 659cc engine that makes 63 horsepower. Not a speed demon, for sure, but a cool little car nonetheless. The Copen's tiny wheelbase and overall size mean it falls into the Kei car category in Japan. Most of the vehicles in Daihatsu's current lineup are Kei cars, and therefore would be hard for the company to sell in the U.S. market. That's a shame because we would really like to get behind the wheel of a Copen.
The small Daihatsu Move is another model we'd love to helm. Tiny, boxy, and 3-cylinder economical, the Move is perfect for urban environments where space is a commodity. The fact that it looks like a robotic French bulldog is
It's obvious that we're missing out on some great cars here in the states, but we can't have it all. Whether or not any of these brands may come back remains in question, but we're glad to see they're selling somewhere in the world to be enjoyed by other car lovers.