By on February 28, 2017

2006 Peugeot 908 RC Concept

A report released by PSA Groupe, maker of Citroën and Peugeot vehicles, details the first part of a 10-year plan to reintroduce PSA brands into the North American market, starting in the United States this week!

So, how do you feel about mobility solutions?

PSA has partnered with French-based insurer MAIF to bring PSA’s TravelCar program to the United States. The service uses privately owned cars as rentals, with the idea that cars are unused too often and owners should maximize their utility.

The TravelCar pilot program will start at the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports because, as we all know, when you start something new in America, you do it on the West Coast. Three different types of services are provided by TravelCar, depending on whether you’re a car owner or user:

  • Owners who participate in the rental program get free parking at the airport, and receive payment for the time their car is rented while they’re out of town.
  • Also on offer, a cut-rate parking solution for owners who do not want to share their car (so, a parking lot).
  • Users who are looking to rent a vehicle can have access to one of the private vehicles on offer in the TravelCar program.

PSA asserts the cost of using one of these private vehicles is about half of what they would be for a traditional rental car.

While new to North America, the TravelCar service has been around in Europe since 2012. Started in France, there are now over 200 locations across Europe and 300,000 users spread across 10 countries.

Head of Mobility Services at PSA Grégoire Olivier outlined the importance of launching TravelCar in America:

“We announced our progressive entry to North America by launching mobility services with our partners. We deploy these services worldwide to meet customers’ expectations. With TravelCar today, we’re writing the beginning of this new step overseas.”

After more than 20 years without any U.S. presence, it looks like Peugeot has some significant plans for a future here. And those plans start with you renting an old Prius.

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60 Comments on “Peugeot Starts Its Return to the United States Market on April 1...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Va-va-voom!

    Chrysler Concorde goes Parisian!

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    OK we’re starting early with the April Fool’s?

  • avatar
    RHD

    Why are there toilet flush levers on the front fascia?

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Because the French are a practical people and serious about sanitation.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      They are symbolic of the amount of money you will flush down the toilet in order to keep this car on the road once the warranty has expired. The car will need its hydraulic bouganvillerator replaced (I don’t know what the English word is) six months after the warranty runs out because the rubber seals go bad in the American climate (in France it is cool and rainy all the time, here we alternate between brutal heat season and road salt season) and there will be none in stock at any US dealership (all 3 of them) so you will have to wait 6 weeks while they send away to France for one.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Better question: is there a bidet in there?

  • avatar
    Paragon

    Hey…at first glance, I do like the looks of that car. Seriously. Looks pretty darn nice.

  • avatar
    redliner

    If I had to choose between the two new-not-new brands, Fiat and Citroen, I would choose Citroen everytime. Give me an electric Citroen that rides like a flying carpet and I’m sold.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      Sadly, Citroen’s flying carpet days are over. The last vehicle to have optional Hydractive suspension, the C5, is about to be replaced, and its successor won’t offer that option anymore.

      Allegedly they’re working on a (cheaper, simpler) replacement, but I’ll believe that when I rode in one and it matches my old BX’s ride. Not holding my breath ’til then, though.

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        Let us pray to the hydro-active gods that they give us somthing worthy of the Citroen legacy.

        On a side note, I’m strangely attracted to the Citroen Cactus. Bring that right over please!

        • 0 avatar
          Ermel

          The Cactus is a nifty little car indeed. I haven’t driven one yet, but I admire them whenever I see ’em, and I see quite a few here in Germany. Finally, Citroen remembers that some of its appeal comes from being a little unconventional.

      • 0 avatar
        993cc

        I wonder how much power is needed to run the compressors for the hydractive system, and if that is the reason for its demise given increased regulatory demand for carbon efficiency and low emissions.

        • 0 avatar
          redliner

          Based on its design, the Citroen suspension is probably equivalent to an inefficient hydraulic power steering system.

          Bose has shown that even the most innovative of suspension ideas are unpalatable for production if the power usage is more than a couple hundred watts.

          The magnetic damper system GM uses peaks around 100 watts.

        • 0 avatar
          Ermel

          The (electronics-free) hydropneumatic system in my BX can’t use all that much power, seeing as it only actually pumps maybe 4 seconds per minute, and even while it is pumping has no notable effect whatsoever except the quiet whirrrr-click it makes. I’ve had cars with power steering that had a much more dramatic impact on the engine’s manners (dropping revs, even stalling), and before you ask, yes, those too had electronic fuel injection and electronic ignition.

          (Edited to add:) Also, it should be noted that the hydropneumatic system doesn’t just power the suspension, but also the power brakes and power steering.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      Let’s bring back the Deux Chevaux. I’m sure PSA can come up with an electric version.

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    I can’t think of anything less desirable to me than somebody driving my car around Los Angeles.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Nice gimmick, but without a good dealer network (by which I mean a network of good dealers) along with timely and reasonably priced parts availability, this venture will fail.
    During the late 70’s, I knew two people who bought new Peugeots. One was my FIL who had a wagon that I can’t remember the particular model. It was a decent enough car, but oh so slow even by standards of the day. He traded it on a Chevy Caprice around 1980. The other person was a neighbor who bought a Peugeot diesel around 1979. It spend so much time in the shop that he traded it in in frustration. A lot of the shop time was waiting for parts.
    Just my 2 cents.

    • 0 avatar

      The first car I drove legally was the family’s ’65 Peugeot 404 wagon. It WAS slow (Paul Niedermeyer says they boosted the HP significantly later), but it was a really nice car for that era. I wish I had it.

      I like this Peugeot, and I really like the fact that it looks like the A pillars wouldn’t block the view when you’re turning right or left—as so many contemporary cars do.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Just bring back the damn 505 already..

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    The translation of the press release is awful and is symptomatic of French arrogance – the French THINK that they can speak English and understand the American market when in reality they are WAY off base and can barely be understood by Americans. I can’t speak French or sell American cars in France but I KNOW that, while they seem clueless. That they were too cheap/arrogant to pay a native English speaker to clean up this translation does not bode well for their future success.

    Maybe in France if you leave your car at the airport it will be rented by some nice homme d’affaire but if you do the same at LA maybe Jose will use it for hauling a load of cerdos from his uncle’s farm in Tijuana. How many cochons can you fit in the back seat?

  • avatar
    C W

    OK, I’m confused…

    Starting in March, PSA will NOT be selling its cars in America to private owners…
    because PSA plans to rent out its cars at airports…
    from a fleet of private owners of PSA cars…
    that PSA will NOT be selling its cars to…
    because PSA plans to rent out its cars at airports…
    from a fleet of private owners of PSA cars…

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Lift this boiling kettle with the insides of your forearms.

      It is time for you to go.

    • 0 avatar
      993cc

      PSA will not be selling cars in America.
      PSA plans to rent out peoples’ cars at airports.
      They will be the cars those people already own,
      made by other manufacturers.
      This may never lead to selling PSA cars in America,
      but it will create more business for French-based insurer MAIF.

      I’m confused too.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    PSA should merge/buy FCA and then sell trucks, Peeps and Peugeot/Citroen cars. Gives PSA an instant dealer network, and FCA apparently can’t design a decent car. Forget about the Fiat nonsense.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    That is a sexy beast to my eyes. If only it had Japanese powertrain and electronic systems.

  • avatar
    deanst

    How can you not like a press release that uses the word “concretization”? Even Dan Neil would be amused….

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      There are a lot of words in French that can be made into English words but they don’t mean the same thing in English or are not in common use or are not English words at all.

      Concrétisation (which it surely was in the original French) is best translated as “realization” in English.

      The whole thing is laughably bad. ” A concretization of the 10 years’ PSA project for the progressive entry into North America with mobility services launching”. They would have literally been better off with Google Translate than whoever did this.

  • avatar
    ect

    I wonder how many of those who sign up for this program will think to ask their insurance company if their policy will cover them or the vehicle when the car is rented out to a third party?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Even Flo will go, “Hell no!”

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      I’m guessing that part of the program would be supplemental insurance while the car was rented. They would try to get the renter to buy additional insurance , CDW, etc. just like all the other car rental companies. This is the kind of detail that you have to work out in order to set up such a program but it’s not a deal killer.

    • 0 avatar
      993cc

      “PSA has partnered with French-based insurer MAIF …”

      I’m thinking buying insurance from MAIF is part of the deal.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        993cc, I take your point, but in order to sell insurance (basic or supplemental), MAIF would have to be licensed in each state where there will be program members. So far as I am aware, the company has no operations outside of France, and certainly nothing in North America, so this is a heckuvan expensive way to get into the market.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “Peugeot Starts Its Return to the United States Market on April 1”

    Why?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Well there’s little US market competition in upscale sedans, so Peugeot should have an easy path here, right? /snark

  • avatar

    Bring in the Peugeot Panda Teepee.
    Yes, that’s a real name.

    I rented one last month in Spain. Brown, manual and Diesel. (No lie, luck of the rental car draw, after refusing s sincere effort to upgrade me to an A6, for only 300 euros more-I just wanted a Golf or equal, it wasn’t a driving trip, and once the nice lady got the idea I really didn’t want an auto box, said this would be good for skiing…she was right.)

    I, of course, thoroughly enjoyed it, it ate all of our ski equipment, and for the 70 mph top speed Spanish motorways, it was fine. It was even fine in the tiny places euros call “parking spaces”. Worth the 183 euros for the week, and the diesel mileage was probably in the 50s’. Spaniards all drive slow cars, small engines and lotsa (99%) Diesels, so it wasn’t like I had to cope with the Berlin-Stutgardt Autobahn traffic. I was again reminded how spoiled the US market is..the average car in the US is way better than the average car in France or Spain…never mind the three fancy ones they get that we don’t..

    The radio was horrible. Not the sound…the interface. Worst I’ve ever seen in any car in any market.

    The closest thing here would be a Ford Transit. The Teepee was done in “comfortable family car” trim, not “plumber”, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      “Bring in the Peugeot Panda Teepee. Yes, that’s a real name.”

      Well almost. Should be the Partner Teepee. Peugeot Partner (and the identical Citroen Berlingo) are, well, whatchermercallit, maybe highroof micro-vans? Things like the Ford Transit Connect or VW Caddy. Teepee is Peugeot’s name for commercial vehicle equipped as personal car. The Panda on the other hand is a sub-compact (well, probably sub-micro in US scale) hatchback made by Fiat.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I’ve heard of this “rent out your personal car to complete strangers” idea before, and I don’t see it going any better this time. (Though since it’s being operated by an insurance company, so the owners will have some place to go when their own insurance company runs away screaming.)

  • avatar
    Jimal

    This is the April Fool’s Day version of a department store putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween. Too soon.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Like Americans I thought les gen didn’t favor their own brands aujourd’hui.

    Christ, even Hollande elopes on a scooter. No shared de gaulle voiture there.

    I swear if I went for that LAX package I would get biche Le Pen diamond ring glass scratches right in my eyeline..

    All Citroen suspension systems should have to pass the Jackal test.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Which French manufacturer is in bed with Nissan? Would that be an entry point or am I thinking of somebody else?

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      That would be Renault, who share most of their commercial vehicle lineup with Nissan (and, ironically, Opel) in Europe.

      Here’s an overview of who is in bed with whom in the European small commercial vehicle market. Spoiler: Almost everyone, with almost everyone else.

      http://www.schlabonski.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/vanfusion.pdf

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