It's Decision Time for PSA's American Return
PSA Group surely wishes it had a crystal ball. As the French automaker prepares to make a series of key decisions for its planned North American return, the future trade landscape between the United States and Europe couldn’t be murkier. Will U.S. President Donald Trump levy steep tariffs on imported European cars, or will existing and proposed tariffs crumble like the Berlin Wall?
That’s just one consideration company brass needs to weigh. Other hard choices involve selecting the types of vehicles Americans might want to drive.
The long road back to North America — a market Peugeot vacated in 1991 — began with mobility services, but the ultimate goal is to have the retail sale of Peugeot, Citroën, or upscale DS cars by 2026. Earlier this year, the automaker said it was eyeing 15 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces as key markets.
Speaking to Automotive News on the sidelines of the Paris auto show, PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares said the company has entered a crucial phase of its plan. Exactly which PSA brand will make the boat trip sits at the top of the decision list, but the distribution model must also be agreed upon. In the past, the automaker has spoken highly of adopting a low-cost, cutting-edge direct sales model, but AN now reports the company has a traditional dealer network in its sights.
“For each of those strategic questions, there are several scenarios,” Tavares said. “We are going to decide between now and spring of 2019.”
As it formulates its retail plan, PSA has updated its Free2Move app, which grants users in several West Coast markets access to ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and other mobility aids — if you want to call them that. It also plans to unveil a short-term rental fleet in Washington, D.C. by the end of the month.
Just don’t expect to hop behind the wheel of a new Citroën C3 Aircross after touching down at Reagan. For this initial venture, PSA plans to lease Chevrolet Equinoxes and Cruzes. Eventually, PSA vehicles will supplement domestic and foreign makes in the company’s U.S. mobility fleets.
[Images: PSA Group]
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