By on July 20, 2018

Citroen C4 Cactus, Image: PSA Group

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]

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14 Comments on “PSA Really Wants to Get You Into a Peugeot or Citroën, but U.S. Fans Had Best Cross Their Fingers...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Tariff issues are the least of PSA’s challenges in a return to the US market. They’re doomed either way, and it would be worse than Fiat’s return.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, already have too many marques in USDM.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t see how it could be worse, unless they limit themselves to some highly niche products and leave them to rot on the vine.

    • 0 avatar

      Doomed? Maybe, maybe not. I could actually see Citroens selling as niche cars. But a mainstream brand? No way.

      If nothing else, they have Fiat as an example of all the mistakes you could possibly make trying to introduce a niche brand into this market.

      Either way, we need all the funky cars we can get at this point, so I’d welcome a French brand.

  • avatar

    Does it come with a standard white flag already in the trunk?
    Badam – bum!!

    But seriously, didn’t we learn from LeCar that selling French autos in the US is just not something that should ever be done? Tariffs or no tariffs, this is a dumb idea.

  • avatar

    I had a Cactus C4 rental in England. When they tried to offer me another one in France I raised hell and got a brown Focus diesel 6MT wagon instead. PSA can stay all the way over there. If any French auto brand deserves a shot in the US it’s Renault. Megane RS for me and a Grand Scenic for my wife (seriously, Google the Grand Scenic… it’s a legitimately sexy minivan)

  • avatar
    OE Supplier Veteran

    Just got back from Europe where we had a Citroen Grand C4 Picasso with a 1.6 litre turbodiesel for a week. We averaged 5.5l/100km in mixed driving – 130 km/h Autostrada, some urban, some mountain switchbacks – for the trip. It carried four people in great comfort (massaging seats!) and a whack of luggage. It’s a three-row but we only used two. By the end of the trip, I was trying to figure out how hard it would be to import one. My guess would be that this combination of space, comfort, economy, and style would be well-received in Canada.

  • avatar

    Bring in the Peugeot 504, and I’ll think about it.

  • avatar

    Well gosh darn it all to heckfire. I’m devastated. :(

  • avatar
    Seth DeSplinter

    I think you are all missing the point of Peugeot releasing their electric 208 next year that has the potential of being the first production electric vehicle under $30,000 that could have above a 200 mile range. The environmental and economical impact would be incalculable!

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

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

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