2012 Citroën C6 - front three-quarter view

Even if their avant-garde styling has historically meant that they would never enjoy the sales success of their more staid German counterparts, it was always somehow comforting to know that the French were building large sedans. With a history of nontraditional looks and peerless ride quality (a legacy built on the hydropneumatic suspension of the original Citroën DS), big French cars have always been an acquired taste.

And now it appears buyers with that specific palette won't have a clear place to go, at least for a while. According to Automotive News, production of the Citroën C6 shown above (click to enlarge) is scheduled to cease this month, leaving French buyers (and Francophiles) without a true-bleu option. As the article points out, Renault will still offer its Latitude – effectively a badge-engineered rework of the Korean-built Samsung SM5 – but patriotic consumers have apparently been staying away because it isn't French enough (Renault has sold under 3,800 examples this year).

Renault may yet provide an answer for its displaced countrymen in the form of a new Initiale Paris-branded flagship offering that would be developed on Mercedes-Benz E-Class britches, but it has not yet decided whether it will move forward with the car. The alternative, to follow Citroën and Peugeot in leaving the segment, is probably looking quite appealing now, especially with Europe's continued economic malaise.

Citroën, for its part, is still experimenting with large cars, as evidenced by its stunning Numero Nine concept revealed at this year's Beijing Motor Show. Whether the marque that kicked off the genre with "The Goddess" plans to revisit the large sedan remains to be seen, but it could be a good strategy if it wants to increase its presence in large-sedan-happy China.