By on January 18, 2018

peugeot-308gti-

At Wednesday’s Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Peugeot SA Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said the French automaker is picking the brains of former Opel engineers to develop vehicles for re-entry into U.S. market. In keeping with current trends, he also said Peugeot will offer electrification as an option on all its vehicles by 2025.

With plans to use the 2017 acquisition of GM’s European Opel and Vauxhall operations as the springboard for global expansion, Americans could eventually find themselves once again experiencing the Gallic delights of French motoring.

It’s not like it was in the past, of course, when buying a Peugeot meant being such a fan of French weirdness that one also probably used garlic-flavored toothpaste.

Last year, the company acquired GM’s European Opel operation after GM decided to divest the money-losing operation. It seems now that the company will use that purchase as the beachhead of a three-step plan to once again sell cars in America, the world’s second largest car market and GM’s home turf.

The first stage of the plan is already underway. Peugeot is beginning to offer ride services in America through its Free2Move brand by using vehicles from other manufacturers. In the vein of other ride sharing programs, F2M allows customers to view all nearby vehicles that are available, compare prices and technical details, then book their desired car for immediate or later use.

Next, Tavares said, will come ride services using Peugeot cars. This author finds it quite easy to picture a compact 208 5-door plying the street of San Francisco or Portland. If a 308 GTi appeared on my ride-sharing app, you can be guaranteed I would select it.

peugeot-308gti-interior

This approach would, in theory, allow a soft launch of the Peugeot brand into the consciousness of American consumers. It would also presumably be an avenue for the company to navigate its way through the various EPA and NHTSA minefields to get its cars certified for our roads.

The third step, then, would be to sell Peugeot vehicles in the United States. This would be accomplished by the Opel engineers who worked for GM. Those engineers can “ensure the future products for this market will be fully U.S. compliant” not just from a regulatory standpoint but also with consumer tastes, Tavares explained, before going on to elaborate that his company has “people working on cars now” for the U.S. market.

Given the gestation period for designing and building a new car, we needn’t expect to see any Peugeots on our nation’s highways before the end of this decade. There’s no indication that the company will simply pluck its cars directly from a foreign lineup and tweak them for America, although other companies have done exactly that in the past and been met with varying degrees of success.

No article about Peugeot is complete without a link to the following video:

[Image: PSA Group]

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27 Comments on “Zut Alors! Peugeot Outlines Plan for American Sales...”


  • avatar
    cdotson

    Quelle horreur!

    à côté, allons y.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I’m sure they will be quite the powerhouse, building on the raging success of Opel derived vehicles like the various saturns and Buick Regal. I expect dozens of sales.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1 I suspect they may be picking the wrong brains if they are looking to succeed in the US

      • 0 avatar
        TDIandThen....

        They’re not even trying to come to Montréal, and we go for small and weird here in the second largest french-speaking city in the world. VW dealers here for example want the Up!or Polo GTI but this is the only market in N America where those will compete against the 2015 Yaris, Nissan Micra (Cup édition, boyeeee), and 2005 Tercel.

        I don’t think this will end well for Peugeot.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      The biggest problem was the branding.

      If they had brought them over as Opels, sold them at Buick dealerships like in days of old, people would have bought them.

      Getting over the stigma of buying a Buick, or Saturn’s no haggle business model, are both big stumbling blocks.

      If they had been marketed as European cars without European repair costs and reliability issues, they could have made a good dent.

      Vauxhall has the cooler logo though. So maybe Vauxhall > Opel

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        They are using Opel people to ensure their own cars, not Opels, are better suited to American tastes.

        This is NOT about them bringing Opels here. I’m quite sure there was some sort of clause in the purchase from GM about them not brining (to North America or China I’m guessing) exact models already sold by GM.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    “Give us your tires, your doors, your 1.5 liter CUV’s yearning to breath free”

  • avatar
    whynot

    So basically they are hoping you associate them with your taxi (Uber/lyft/whatever), and then when it comes time to buy a car you won’t associate them as a car for taxis?

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Merde.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    They should bring them to Canada first, a la Hyundai in the 80’s. Start selling some hatches here and get a foothold on the market before heading south. Quebec should be a strong market for them, and not just because of the common language.

  • avatar
    Heino

    They have to start somewhere. I was a freshman in college when Peugeot left the US, and everybody was excited about getting a European car for 50% off. I always remember the 404 and 504 as very sturdy cars. If they thought the market was brutal then, I wish them luck. C’est Bon? Inshallah.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Interesting plan.

    The last Peugeot model that was for sale here in the US, the 405, wasn’t half bad. Especially in the sporty Mi16 models.

    I hope they execute better than Fiat’s plan of just aping MINI and hoping for the best.

    PSA has a bunch of Kraut engineers on-staff and with their recent experience engineering things for the US market, maybe they will get it right, off the bat.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    When PSA arrives in America, it will be as the Chinese automaker Dongfeng.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    Obviously they will succeed and dominate. Did no one see in BladeRunner2049, that the LAPD drives Peugeots?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Don’t they own Citroen? Citroen has a much prouder heritage. Peugeot, not really.

    Market them as Citroens in the US for a better chance.

    Zut alors!
    https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/new-flagship-citroen-saloon-confirmed-production

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    Shame on you for putting ‘delights’ and ‘French motoring’ in the same sentence.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Germany has the market cornered on semi-reliable European vehicles. I’m not sure what Peugeot is looking to achieve. See: Fiat or Alfa Romeo.

    Some consumers may revel in the novelty of a French automobile, but adding more bureaucracy to the US market will merely make the regulatory framework more complex and reinforce the existing orthodoxy within the church of oligopolistic group think.

    • 0 avatar
      Marcin Laszuk

      “Germany has the market covered on semi-reliable European vehicles” – you’re absolutely wrong. For the last two decades it’s actually the Germans that lead they way in recalls, quality mishaps and bringing half-baked products to the market in general. Just some of the examples: cracking engine blocks and disintegrating timing chains in VAG’s early 2.0TDIs, oil consumption issues and disintegrating timing chains (again) in VAG’s 1.4TSIs, randomly failing brake pumps in MB W211s, not to mention the perennial BMW tradition of powering their cars with ticking time bombs. If the Germans lead the way in anything, it’s in maintenance costs. And I’m not just talking about the high-dollar US market sleds. I’m talking affordable family cars of the kind that you don’t get stateside, too.

      That’s not directed to you personally; it’s rather a loose observation: It’s funny to hear some of the commenters here claiming to know the European market even though their whole exposure to it comes from the upper end of Volvo’s, VW’s, and the German big three’s ranges. Same goes for the default answer to any negative remark about Nissan: I’ve been reliably informed by the commenters here that it’s always Renault’s fault, and that everybody’s uncle had a barely running Alliance in the 80s, therefore it stands to reason that all Renault are shit even now, thirty years later.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Bring ’em on. Citroen too.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I hope they at least ship in the unique and unusual-looking cars. I’m sick and tired of all these clones.

  • avatar
    flyf2d

    It’ll be interesting to see how it works out.
    They have been in and out of the market here in New Zealand, they’re pretty much the cheapest “European” car here at the moment.
    I had a 2012 207 Sportium 1.6L petrol until two weeks ago, nice to drive if a bit pedestrian in performance. I bought it because it was cheap and I like the styling.
    Service costs were a bit high, tyre cost was outrageous, it killed the Continental sports every 20 000 Km and not because of burn outs I can assure you.
    The battery died at 5 1/2 years, replaced it but had a series of sensor failures and warnings subsequently.
    It went from being a very pleasant car to drive to an unreliable dog.
    I thought it was pretty poor that at 84 000 KM (about 50 000 miles) it was essentially dead.
    Using the 208 and 3008 as part of a ride sharing service is probably a smart move to rebuild brand reputation as the interior and ride is generally good, and conceals the service costs !

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    My wife’s family was into Peugeots. I married her anyway!


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