French cars have historically struggled to gain a foothold in Australia despite countless attempts via numerous distributors. So where to from here?
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French car brands Citroen, Peugeot, and Renault are having a year they would rather forget.

The sales of all three brands are in reverse in Australia, despite overhauls in distribution and management over the past few years.

Renault sales are down by 27.3 per cent so far this year, Citroen is down by 57 per cent, while Peugeot has slowed by 13.9 per cent.

It is the weakest performance for the three French brands in recent memory and comes despite an injection of new models and a rationalised range so dealers can focus on the most popular variants.

Peugeot and Citroen are jointly-owned companies and one of Europe’s biggest automotive conglomerates, but in Australia they are distributed by the same company that imports Subaru cars.

Peugeot currently has seven models in local showrooms: a sedan, a hatchback, two SUVs (3008 and 5008), and three vans. Another city SUV, the 2008, is coming soon.

Citroen has a smaller line-up – a C3 hatchback, and the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross SUVs – after the vans were withdrawn from sale.

Renault is distributed by Nissan in Australia, after the French and Japanese companies formed a partnership in 1999.

Of the three French brands, Renault has the strongest sales performance, delivering 4300 cars so far this year (versus 1500 Peugeots and 140 Citroens).

All three brands are poised to introduce new models in the coming months in an attempt to address the sales slide.