PSA Really Wants to Get You Into a Peugeot or Citron, but U.S. Fans Had Best Cross Their Fingers

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

PSA Group has a North American headquarters in Atlanta and it wants to use it. The French automaker also has a reentry plan that’s already underway. By the middle of the coming decade, we could all be behind the wheel of a French car (presumably after trading our Dodge Grand Caravans for the Citroën SpaceTourer Rip Curl).

Well, that might not happen — not if the U.S. imposes tariffs on the European Union, anyway. PSA North America Larry Dominique seems pretty worried that President Trump’s eagerness for tariffs could kibosh the company’s return, leaving mournful American francophiles gazing lustily over the Canadian border as PSA goes wild in Quebec.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Dominique expressed concern that Trump’s threat of a hefty import tax on European vehicles might come to pass.

The EU, of course, already imposes a 10-percent tariff on U.S. vehicles, and that’s the crux of the current trade dispute. In return, the U.S. only imposes a 2.5-percent import duty, though light trucks get it good and hard.

“Tariffs are on our minds,” Dominique said. “Tariffs impact how fast and at what price point we import vehicles into the U.S. I’m crossing my fingers.”

PSA products currently in the pipeline are being designed to conform to American safety and environmental regulations. The automaker wants to slowly ease into the North American market via ride-sharing services, expand public awareness of its brands, then launch into retail sales of its products. This will occur by 2026 at the latest.

With local production out of the question (the automaker still hasn’t even nailed down exactly how it plans to sell these vehicles), a new tariff would impact the price of each and every Peugeot, Citroën, or DS vehicle it ships over. PSA might decide to scrap plans to bring in lower-priced models. As of yet, PSA hasn’t detailed which brands will appear on our shores.

Should an all-out trade war erupt, leaving PSA with no choice but to cancel its U.S. plans, it won’t leave all of its North American ambitions behind. Just north of Plattsburgh, NY lies a massive province filled with 8.4 million predominantly French-speaking residents. To either side of it, Ontario and New Brunswick house more than a few citizens of French ancestry. And Canada and the EU have a free-trade pact.

“We think we’ll have success in Quebec,” Dominique said.

[Image: PSA Group]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Manic Manic on Jul 21, 2018

    Steph and commenters seem to forget that PSA owns Opel (and Vauxhall) these days, and so makes cars which are available in the US as Buicks. The know-how is there, they can use badge engineering to crack this market, by offering either French or German car experience.

  • Carroll Prescott Carroll Prescott on Jul 23, 2018

    PSA's are just French Fiats - a different language but the same junk that won't hold up over time.

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