French Invasion of Georgia Underway After Groupe PSA Chooses Atlanta for American HQ

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
french invasion of georgia underway after groupe psa chooses atlanta for american hq

It’s likely the vanguard of the invasion force is already on Georgia soil, probably after landing at Hartsfield-Jackson following a nice Air France flight from Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle. Don’t be scared, though. These people are delivering choice to new car buyers, at least once their plan is fully underway.

Groupe PSA, maker of Peugeot, Citroën, and DS vehicles, announced Tuesday that Atlanta will become home to its new North American headquarters. It’s an early but crucial step in the company’s decade-long plan to return to the American automotive scene.

The new HQ will be operational by February, the automaker claims. Already, there’s a core team laying the groundwork for the company’s cautious product strategy — one designed to gradually acclimatize Americans to French cars before actually offering them for sale.

“We looked at every aspect of the Atlanta community and found it to be the most suitable location for us,” said Larry Dominique, President of PSA North America, in a statement.

“While the overall business environment, standard of living and university system played an important part in our decision, our unique needs in terms of technology, mobility innovation and car culture ultimately identified Atlanta as our perfect choice.”

PSA first announced its plan to return to the U.S. — following a quarter-century absence — in 2016. It’s a three-phase plan, the first phase of which is already underway. PSA started out by launching its Free2Move “mobility aggregation platform” in Seattle last October. Via an app, users can search carsharing 0r bikesharing services in a particular area, then book whatever vehicle from whatever service that strikes their fancy. PSA plans to spread the service to other U.S. cities, with car rental services added this year.

Sure, it’s hardly a gleaming Citroën DS parked in your driveway, but the company’s being cautious. The second phase of the plan involves offering mobility services (carsharing) with the company’s own vehicles. While users won’t be able to buy a Peugeot, et al, they’ll be able to drive one around and imagine they’re coasting down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

The third phase of the company’s plan, naturally, is retail sales. Francophiles face a long wait, as this won’t take place until well into the coming decade. Still, the automaker is planning its next generation of vehicles to be compatible with American safety standards, so there’s no question as to the company’s seriousness.

PSA joins Mercedes-Benz USA and Porsche Cars North America in setting up its U.S. base of operations in Atlanta.

[Image: Peugeot]

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2 of 23 comments
  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jan 23, 2018

    I, for one, welcome them and wish them well. Hope they bring over some unique products and their very nice looking luxury cars (DS).

  • CombiCoupe99 CombiCoupe99 on Jan 24, 2018

    Here we go again! I don't think these folks understand the deep contempt Americans collectively have for French cars. I think its safe to say that most folks would choose even a FIAT over a French "insert brand here."

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.