Flagship Dealerships of the Champs-Elysees: Peugeot, Mercedes, Toyota

After spending two days at Retromobile, I yearned for more! Five fancy dealerships– Peugeot, Mercedes, Toyota, Renault, and Citroen– were within a few blocks of each other along the Champs-Elysees. I braved sub-freezing weather to visit them, and I was not disappointed.

The tour started at Peugeot. Truth be told, I contemplated skipping it. It’s the smallest of the five and I thought it was going to be dull. Far from it. Peugeot ended up being my favorite dealership.
This 205 GTI greeted visitors. I don’t know if it’s the lighting, but the car looked out-of-this-world.
This Dakar racer was the venue’s centerpiece. If you took a selfie with it and posted it on Instagram with a certain hashtag, the dealership would print out a color copy for you. Et voila! Instant memorabilia.
This Pike’s Peak Peugeot 208 was so radical, I bought a diecast model of it.
Along an entire side wall, Peugeot had mounted about two dozen different emblems from its entire history.
The gift shop, though small, had lots of merchandise to choose from. Aside from diecast models of all scales, the shop also had a large variety of Peugeot salt and pepper shakers/mills. Strange.
Next up, Mercedes.
The plan was to buy a Nico Rosberg jacket. I didn’t want to buy it online because I didn’t know what European size I was. Unfortunately, no jackets were for sale. As a consolation prize, I bought a 1/43 scale Minichamps 2014 Rosberg car. What’s cool about it is that it reads “Saison 2014” on the base. Muy French.
Other than the F1 car and a couple of DTM racers (who knew Petrov was in DTM?!), there were a couple of stock compacts on display.
The gift shop was hilariously lame. They had on offer shoes, cologne, even fingernail polish.
What was even more lame was the manager there. Here’s the scene. I approach the counter to ask for the 1/43 F1 car. The manager is helping an old man and there is a nice foreign couple behind him.
The old man is obviously very, very wealthy. He bought a large AMG-branded suitcase and stuffed it with 1/18 scale cars, keychains, etc. I think the total ended up being a couple thousand euros. He had one of those ginormous checkbooks and wrote the check with a fountain pen. The manager couldn’t kiss his ass more. Apparently, he’s a regular customer.
So now, it’s the nice couple’s turn. They just want a simple keychain. The manager literally throws a keychain at the couple and returns to kissing the old man’s ass.
Now, it’s my turn. I ask him for the Rosberg car with “Saison 2014” written on the base. He first berates an employee for something very petty. Then, he goes to the back room and brings out a Rosberg car with “Austria GP” written on the base.
“No, that’s not what I want.”
“Oh, I am very sorreeee, but it is not possible….”
“Please go back and check again.”
Surprise, surprise, he found what I was looking for. Jerk.
After those two interesting dealership experiences, I headed to Toyota.
This was really disappointing. The dealership had TWO floors, but aside from this Le Mans racer, everything else was Aygo this or Aygo that. I estimate there were at least a dozen Aygos on the showroom floors. And there was no gift shop. Boo hiss.
Stay tuned as I share my experiences at the Renault and Citroen dealerships. They can be summed up as– Weird.
Images source: Copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Jim Yu

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  1. Mister Sterling Avatar

    Oh man….Field Trip !

  2. danleym Avatar

    There must be a lot of change over in the displays. I was there last October, and so far the only similarity is the absurd amount of Aygos. If I get the chance I’ll find my pics and post a few for comparison.

  3. Maymar Avatar

    I’d have to dig up my photos, but I swear I remember a 2000GT and FJ40 on my visit to the Toyota showroom in fall 2012. Peugeot absolutely had a 504 Cabriolet on display (so pretty, but the 205 is fantastically cool as well).
    The three French showrooms were the highlight of the Champs Elysees for myself, although a Citroen rep (and later someone at a Peugeot dealer) chastised me for opening the hood, which is a little peculiar, I guess.
    On the other hand, I still have my Peugeot Avenue watch (since my cell phone was on the fritz, and we wanted some kind of time piece), and a few 1:43 models.

  4. jj Avatar

    In the last Top Gear boys mentioned that Peugeot manufactured pepper grinders in the early days of it’s existence. Maybe that’s the reason. They still sell bicycles, thats for sure.

  5. Kamil Kaluski Avatar
    Kamil Kaluski

    I was in Paris about nine years ago and stopped at every one of those. I was also surprised by how much I loved Paris, almost as much as NYC.

  6. DavidL Avatar

    Watch the Top Gear episode that aired this week on BBC America and you will understand the peppermills at Peugot.

  7. van_sarockin Avatar

    Seriously, some folks think that Peugot makes the best pepper grinders in the world.

  8. Ed Kim Avatar

    DROOOOOL over that 205 GTi. I had the opportunity to buy one of the few that ever made it to the US (it was a silver 1.6 GTi) but I just didn’t have enough money at the time. I actually found the same car years later in Long Beach, none worse for wear. His girlfriend drove a 405 Mi16. Both were their daily drivers. Respect.