French Car Manufacturers

Updated on September 28, 2016
Princessa profile image

Wendy moved to France in 2005. She planned to stay there for only 5 years but fell in love with everything French and still living in France

French Car Makers Located in Paris

PSA Paris
PSA Paris
Atelier Renault, Champs Elyses (Paris)
Atelier Renault, Champs Elyses (Paris)

The French Automotive Industry: French Car Companies

The Paris region is one of the few French regions able to boast at least two major world class automobile manufacturers, Renault and PSA

Since 1903 the French automotive industry has led the world with over 30,000 vehicles produced by over 30 manufacturers. Although in the past few years the country might have been left with only two major manufacturers, France’s automobile industry remains a world leader. Renault-Nissan is the world’s number 4 manufacturer while PSA Peugeot-Citroen is number 8.

The French automotive industry in figures:

  • 3 out of every 4 vehicles manufactured by the two French groups are sold outside France.
  • 23% of all vehicles sold in the European Community are French.

  • 10% of the working population work directly or indirectly for the automobile industry.

French car makers: The automotive industry in Paris

The Most Beautiful Automobile Avenue in the World: The Champs Elysées

The Champs Elysées, a section of Paris that extends from the Louvre Pyramid to La Défense, an obligatory passage for patriotic parades has been a fashionable place to walk since the late 1800. These days you can find anything along the Champs Elysées: films, haute couture, high street fashion, restaurants, fresh vegetables, perfumes and even racing cars!

From the early 1900 the Champs Elysees was conquered by the automobile and very soon it became the favourite show room stage. In 1910, Louis Renault was the first to install his show room there. The Champs Elysees might be one of the world’s most expensive avenues in terms of commercial real estate, but the world’s car automotive leaders have no hesitation in paying top rates for a showroom here. It is argued that the Champs Elysees attracts 80 million people every year. For this reason, the showrooms are not simple sales outlets, they are prestigious addresses used to meet and host events; millions are spent on famous architects and interior designers to create comfortable and luxurious environments.

Some of the best known addresses are Renault at number 53, Citroen at number 42, Peugeot at 136, Mercedes at 118 and Toyota at number 79.

Citroen Magazine, Champs Elysees, Paris


The Importance of Paris In the Global Automotive Industry

The major role played by the Paris region in the global automotive industry is underlined by the fact that the entire world’s leading equipment manufacturers are located here, near the decision making centres of PSA and Renault.

For example:

  • The German Bosch group (the world’s number 1) is based in the Paris region of Saint-Ouen,
  • and the American Delphi (the world’s number 2) is based at Roissy –Paris.
  • Also the Japanese Denso (the world’s number 3) shares the Paris region at Levallois as its main location.

French cars

Citroen Nemo
Citroen Nemo
Peugeot 308
Peugeot 308

French Car company: PSA Peugeot Citroën in figures

PSA Peugeot Citroen is a Group with 200 years of industrial history and strong roots in France contributing €4.5 billion to France’s trade balance.

Automotive production is the core business of PSA Peugeot Citroën. Nearly 85,000 men and women work in 17 production centres

  • In 2008, PSA Peugeot Citroën's production sites manufactured 3,322,600 vehicles.
  • In 2008, 1 904 000 vehicles (vehicles and CKDs) were sold in the world by Peugeot.
  • Citroën sold, in 2008, 1,356,000 vehicles (vehicles and CKDs). The Citroën C5 has exceeded its sales objectives, in a segment under pressure.
  • Thanks to the launching of the Citroën Nemo and Peugeot Bipper, the Group PSA has strengthened its leadership in Western Europegrowing its market share by 1.3 points to reach 19.9%
  • PSA Peugeot Citroën holds on to global market share of 5% in 2008, standing firm in strongly falling markets.
  • Some 13,000 vehicles are produced every day by the Group's plants, along with 11,000 engines and 12 500 gearboxes.
  • In 2008, PSA Peugeot Citroën continued its expansion in South America, slightly increasing its market share to 5.5%.
  • In 2009, Peugeot will make substantial steps to expand market coverage with the new 308 CC, its first crossover (the 3008) and its first compact MPV..
  • In 2013 The number of automobiles built by the Group in France was 919,900 vehicles.
  • Peugeot Citroen offers a "made in France" guarantee for fifteen of its vehicles guaranteeing them as built in France.
  • In 2012, PSA Peugeot Citroën was the European leader in fuel-efficient cars, with the market’s lowest CO2 emissions.

PSA Peugeot Citroen in Numbers


French cars: the Renault Vel Satis

Brad Pitt at the Cannes Film Festival coming out of a Renault Vel Satis
Brad Pitt at the Cannes Film Festival coming out of a Renault Vel Satis
French President Nicolas Sarkozy in his Vel Satis
French President Nicolas Sarkozy in his Vel Satis
Presidential Renault Vel Satis
Presidential Renault Vel Satis

2001 Renault Vel Satis promotional video


Renault present at the Cannes 2009 festival

For the 26th consecutive year, Renault is an official partner at the Cannes Film Festival Between May 13 and 24, the company supplied a fleet of 100 vehicles, including the Vel Satis model, officially used by French President Nicolas Sarkozy .

Outside France Renault is also an official partner of red carpet events. In 2008, Renault became the official partner of the 8th International Film Festival in Marrakech offering a fleet of Vel Satis and Lagunas to drive film makers and actors around the city. The same year, Renault’s Spanish subsidiary signed a partnership with the country’s leading film event, theInternational Film Festival in San Sebastian.

But Renault’s relationship with the cinema industry is not limited to offering red carpet vehicles for film Festivals. Renault cars have also been featured in several films like: A View to a Kill (1985) where Roger Moore does amazing things at the wheel of a Renault 11 in a classic sequence at the EiffelTower as James Bond. More recently in Rush Hour 3 (2007) Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker take part in an impressive car chase across Paris in a Renault Espace.

Renault in James Bond film

Renault Alonso 2009
Renault Alonso 2009

Renault and the Formula 1

For more than 30 years, Renault and F1 have been pursuing a shared aim: to push back the limits of sport and technology and in 2008 the ING Renault F1 Team finished the World Championship in fourth position.   Now it's time for an amazing 2009 season with a new Renault Formula 1 and an experienced team of pilots, Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr.

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Peugeot 208 GTi vs Renault Clio 200

Peugeot 208 GTi vs Renault Clio 200

The 208 GTi weighs in at £18,895, that includes cruise control, parking sensors and climate control. The Renault is £100 more in basic form, and misses out on the leather trim, but does deliver satellite navigation as standard.

French car makers in Paris:

show route and directions
A markerChamps elysees 53 -
53 Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
get directions

Renault at number 53

B markerChamps elysees 42 -
42 Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
get directions

Citroen at number 42

Extreme Rally Experience 2012 Peugeot

Paris EQUIP AUTO 2015

EQUIP AUTO is an international exhibition of vehicle equipment and services which this year will take place during 5 days, from 13th to 17th October 2015 at the Parc des Expositions, Paris-Nord Villepinte.

EQUIP AUTO 2015 aims to unite international players in the after-sales industry for all vehicles, and present a comprehensive offer from upstream to downstream.


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    • eurozulu profile image

      bradley brown 4 years ago from Harrow Middlesex

      Very enjoyable read Princessa, Love my french cars last three have been Scenic's and present one is 1.6 FIDJI.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 5 years ago from France

      I am learning to drive in a Peugeot and so far it is a great drive. I've tried other cars from the driving school, but I def prefer de Peugeot

    • profile image

      Heng Yong Tuck 6 years ago

      I have had 4 Peugeot 405's in a row. I like the Pininfarina design the most and wonder why Peugeot does not go to them for exteriors anymore. A plain look wastes the engineering expertise of Peugeot, which I think makes the best cars for the money and beyond. For example, Peugeot puts in a bigger budget than any other car manufacturer into suspensions of its cars, with very enjoyable results for drivers and passengers. I hope that Peugeot can consistenly wrap beautiful skins over its cars, like it has done for the 508 and future 208.

    • shafiqahmed profile image

      shafiqahmed 6 years ago

      Very good and informative hub. A good addition in your hubs.

    • profile image

      chloe mae 6 years ago

      well i have always wanted a 67 cevey impala because they are the best car ever

    • profile image

      Transolution 6 years ago

      I'm fairly certain that 1985 saw the last year of the Simca. There was a 1308 variant that came out and died pretty quickly at the hands of the VW golf. Awesome history behind that company thought.

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I understand Chrysler bought out the French manufacturer, Simca, in the early 1960s. What happened to Simca cars? Was the line simply stopped?

    • profile image

      shahbaz  6 years ago

      i like your site. its new info for me.

    • bob9125 profile image

      bob9125 6 years ago from United States

      I never thought about french cars. thanks for introducing me to them.

    • falakpema profile image

      falakpema 7 years ago

      the french cars are trying to make a come back in the EV segment with the Renault/ Nissan models Leaf and Twizzy?.

      But then, will they catch up with the Japanese, way ahead in the HEV bracket. Let's see...

      There is big scandal today about Renault strategic assets in EV haven been pilfered by the chinese... Small world when it comes to in the days of CCCR!

    • profile image

      Viresh 7 years ago

      It was truly fabulous any buddy who crazy for car definitely like this post.

    • profile image

      goitom 7 years ago

      i have Citroen zx 1.4i avantage 1995 model the problem is i can not find the manufacturing date in the body so that i can not pay the tax of duty and there is no a dealer in my country Ethiopia for the part,the rest i love it the car it is very comfortable good fuel consumption.

    • profile image

      Transmission Problem 7 years ago

      Champs Elysées is such a history!

      I love watching car show and I dream of even a short travel in Paris. I would surely land my feet in Champs Elysées before I die

    • profile image

      Used Cars in NC 7 years ago

      Awesome information. I love reading the entire selection because it holds several facts but they linger in the memory. The weaving of words is simply awesome!


    • profile image

      KLeichester 7 years ago

      Thank you for the hub. So informative, a lesson I learned today!

    • profile image

      Thomas 7 years ago

      american cars are better.

    • TheOneWhoKnows profile image

      TheOneWhoKnows 7 years ago from Croatia

      I have Peugeot 307 :-)

    • profile image

      Scotian 7 years ago

      Drove 2 Peugeot until they were respectively 14 and 11 years old + 1 Renault until 10 years of age. I've now been driving a brilliant and sober Peugeot 206 for the last 3 years.

      And, in the few months I drove an ugly, thirsty 2006 Pontiac, I had it fixed more often than the 4 French cars combined...

    • profile image

      upvc french doors 7 years ago

      I had a peugot once. Kept having problems over and over again. Wouldn't get one again.

    • profile image

      car hire in Birmingham 7 years ago

      They make some of the best value cars. I love my citreon.

    • Friend of Friends profile image

      Friend of Friends 7 years ago

      Good cars from beautiful people, great to see French cars in action. Both cars are known for their quality and performance.

    • profile image

      Zaimi 7 years ago

      I have a Renault mégane 1998 and a peugeot 207 2009 and i have to say that they are reliable, fast, comfortable, strong and on top of that relatively cheap. I prefer the French cars to U.S.

    • profile image

      unkown 7 years ago

      it sounds good and i would like to buy one

    • profile image

      alster 7 years ago

      peugeots sound good but i think i like my hyundai better

    • profile image

      ballack2014 7 years ago

      i like the post, i like the car.

    • profile image

      edmundos 7 years ago

      not the best cars produced Peugeot

    • profile image

      joshuax 7 years ago

      recently bought a Peugeot 407, very good car

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      Hi Mark: Renault and Peugeot-Citroen are developing electric cars with aid from the government. However, few, if any, of Europe's electric cars are expected to be brought to US markets.

    • profile image

      Mark Patton 7 years ago

      I remember when the Renault was here in the US. I really liked those cars. Has the French auto industry developed hybrid cars yet? I don't hear much about that.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      Shannon: They are certainly different.

      Novak: Good to hear that is a reliable make.

      J.P: That was cute model.

    • J.P. Gardie profile image

      J.P. Gardie 7 years ago from Europe

      My first car was a red Peugeot 205 GTI. It had no radio, no functioning coupé heating or fan. But I loved it! It was so much fun driving it. I really miss my little Peugeot.

    • profile image

      Novak  8 years ago

      I'm sticking with Toyota. I have had three, and my family have had several in the past, and we only need to trade them in when we are looking to get the latest model - never because of any kind of mechanical defects or wear because of age.

    • profile image

      Shannon Paulk 8 years ago

      I've always been a fan of Renault but hadn't considered them much since I'm in the US. They produce very nice cars.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 8 years ago from India

      Renault looks a good car but they are just not popular in India because they booked cars few years back and not everyone who canceled booking got the money and my dad still has to get his 25,000 rs though they canceled their booking 15 years back. This made them loose all credibility.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      HKrafston : I don't think that you can find many French cars in the USA, but if you are interested in the HISTORY OF FRENCH CARS IN USA you can ckeck this article

      JunkerBob: You can find some French cars in e-bay, but the selection is not very big.

      kasanova: thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • HKrafston profile image

      HKrafston 8 years ago from Columbus, OH

      You learn something everyday. I didn't know the French made cars. Have ever sold them in the US? Thanks

    • JunkerBob profile image

      JunkerBob 8 years ago from Ohio, US

      I've always wanted to get my hands on a Peugeot 206, alas, I live in the US. Nice write up though.

    • profile image

      kasanova 8 years ago

      nice hub..outside of europe, french cars have limited success.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      themoneyscams: glad you enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      themoneyscams 8 years ago

      hey Princessa nice information you have about cars i really like your this hub

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Hi Brian: shame about the window :(

      Guidebaba: “To dream anything that you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind."

    • guidebaba profile image

      guidebaba 8 years ago from India

      All I dream for is a Rolls Royce to take my "to be wife" on a long drive.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      I own a little Renault Megane and I do really like it but one of the electric windows packed up a little while ago which apparently is a very common fault in this model. I have to say I find that really annoying because if there is a known fault it should be sorted out. Other than that the car is great, really economical and fun to drive so shame about the window.