In 1973, prior to Peugeot taking over CitroŽn
in 1974, the SM was withdrawn from sale because it did not meet the
bumper safety standards and the remainder of the US-export model cars
were not allowed to be imported. The SM had been widely seen by CitroŽn Cars Corporation
as the saviour of the marque in Canada and the USA since it would take
them up-market into the lucrative performance/luxury arena. Since
1972 when imports of the D Series ended and with the GS being banned
America, the company was left with one model to sell - the Mehari... CitroŽn Cars Corporation hoped that the replacement for the D Series, the CX, would be federalised and sold in North America.
In 1975, CitroŽn had a number of diesel CXs in the
USA where the company was working with the Federal authorities to ensure
that the cars would meet US emissions, lighting and safety
standards. These cars were kept in
Arizona and Colorado; away from prying eyes in New Jersey and California.
Confident that the 'US Approved' CX would shortly go on sale, Renť France, Head of CitroŽn Cars Corporation
was shocked when he was summoned to Paris and told that the company
would cease its North American operations on 5th December. It is
believed that the reason for this decision was that Peugeot believed
their 604 to be better suited to take on the likes of Volvo, BMW,
Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Saab.
Immediately following CitroŽn's retreat
from North America, a number of entrepreneurs decided to import the
Al Mardikian’s Trend Imports of Hermosa
Beach California, (a service dealer for CitroŽn before they left
North America) was the first to import some CX 2500 Diesels.
Since the 'US Approved' modifications had never
gone into production, Trend were obliged to modify the cars in order to
meet the slow speed DOT front and rear impact standards. Trend
added heavy angle iron behind the bumpers to ensure the cars were able
to pass the tests and this resulted in them standing proud of the
bodywork. They also made some changes to the lighting.
However,it didn’t take the authorities very long to
figure out that Trend Imports were basically importing run of the mill
French cars with minimal changes.