Zut Alors! Peugeot Outlines Plan for American Sales

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

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]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

Join the conversation
2 of 27 comments
  • Flyf2d Flyf2d on Jan 18, 2018

    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 !

  • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on Jan 19, 2018

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

  • Buickman Stop the Invasion. Boycott Envision.I am the top Buick salesman in history, bar none.have never sold this Commie Car and will not until they are built stateside.BuickmanFounderGeneralWatch.com
  • SCE to AUX Nice car for a nice price. I'd replace the headlights.
  • Fred Of course they will retaliate. Expect things to worse before they get better.
  • GBJT I think there are still non-turbo cars.
  • Slavuta US has created a game called "Free trade" and bashed any country that in US's view somehow interfered with that. Now that countries learned how to beat US at its own game, US does what? - right. smashes the board,