By on February 26, 2019

Image: Peugeot

Twenty-eight years after limping out of the U.S. marketplace, news comes of Peugeot’s impending return. While we’ve known for nearly three years that a newly invigorated PSA Group plans to slowly increase its presence in North America, ultimately offering French cars for retail sale, until Monday the exact brand at the forefront of the plan remained a mystery.

Wonder no more. The last French brand offered for sale in North America will be the next one offered for sale.

The news came in an update to the automaker’s Push to Pass strategic plan. With efficiencies achieved and new markets in its sights, phase two of the plan is underway. Just don’t expect Tricolor flag decals anytime soon.

The automaker’s North American re-entry is a work in progress. First up is the continued expansion of PSA’s Free2Move mobility effort, which first landed in Seattle in 2017. The vehicles earmarked for the U.S. and Canadian markets must be designed and built with those countries’ regulations in mind, and the homologation process has apparently already begun. PSA will need locations for sales and service. Based on news reports from last year, the automaker will likely opt for a traditional franchised dealer network in 15 states and four provinces.

Until PSA says otherwise, the latest arrival date is still 2026.

Image: Peugeot

According to Automotive News, PSA boss Carlos Tavares said the first U.S.-bound vehicles will make the trip from factories in Europe and China. Other markets get their own PSA brand, with India gaining Citroën vehicles and Russia receiving Opel products, PSA claims.

In its first U.S. go-round, Peugeot sales hit a peak in 1984, dwindling sharply in the years following. Its last year in the market, 1991, saw just 3,555 Peugeots leave dealer lots. PSA isn’t taking chances, so slow and cautious is the name of the game.

[Images: Peugeot]

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71 Comments on “Take Two: PSA Group Confirms Peugeot’s Return to U.S....”


  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    One has to give credit to the French: persistent as hell.
    If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And again. And again.

    I must say I have a soft spot for Peugeot. A relative had a 403 and it was so….different. With gauges with labels like “Eau”.

  • avatar

    I feel like PSA can learn something from Buick. Offering a European semi-premium vehicle at a premium price to try and compete against Volvo or Lexus or whoever -does not work-. You’re going to have to make a competitive (or better) car at a lower price, and build from there. Just like Lexus did in 1990 and Hyundai/Kia started doing circa 2014.

    Don’t pull a Buick.
    Don’t pull a Saab.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Don’t pull a Fiat.

      This doesn’t look like a plan for success; it looks like a plan for failure. How will consumers commit to PSA if PSA won’t commit to them?

      • 0 avatar

        That’s true. A partial network in a few states is going to net you a select few enthusiast customers.

        Bitter tried this.
        So did Qvale.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It sounds like they want to do a bigger deal than Bitter or Qvale – more on the scale of what Fiat did here.

          I think they have a shot – IF they try what Fiat tried, only weirder, and keep the product mix fresh. Sell “Frenchness” – the weirder, the better, and do it in trendy urban areas. Make sure the weird stuff is fun to drive. Do it at a Mini price point. I believe there’s a niche market for this, if they do it right.

          But if they try to sell one of those generic-looking cars above in, say, Des Moines, well…good luck with that.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Generic looking cars???? There is a STATION WAGON!!!!!! There’s no satisfying some people.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            LOL, true, but when I looked at that wagon, I thought it was a Buick. Like I said…generic.

          • 0 avatar

            On the wagon topic, are we sure it’s entirely unrelated to the Regal/Opel?

          • 0 avatar
            cdotson

            Pretty sure that wagon *IS* a Buick. Remember the Regal Tour X was developed by Opel, and then Opel was sold to….PSA! You don’t even have to squint to see Regal Tour X in the Peugeot 508 SW.

            That’s how they’re returning to the US. They have some vehicles ready-made for the US market that will probably disappear from the Buick showroom around the time Peugeot shows up stateside.

          • 0 avatar
            scott25

            I don’t think “weird” is the goal here, or else they’d have used the Citroen brand, not Peugeot. Which is a missed opportunity. There needs to be a unique selling point for this to work.

          • 0 avatar
            Brumus

            One thing’s for sure — even if they are addled with wheezy 102-HP engines and bodies that rust out in five years, Peugeots will still sell well in Quebec.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            The top 15 states covers 65% of the US population — more if you consider metro areas that overlap into smaller states. Seems like a good place to start.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Circa 2014? What are you? A Millennial?

    • 0 avatar

      Since when Opel is or was a semi-premium brand? As far as I can recall it was like a German Chevrolet, car for old people. Chevy was a Korea brand in Europe (a.k.a. Daewoo). Opel was premium only compared to European Chevy.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        Many years ago, back in the 1960s when the Opel Diplomat (with its Chevy 327 V-8 competed quite favorably with the likes of Mercedes and BMW and GM considered selling it as the first small Cadillac. (Instead we got a fancy Chevy Nova.) More recently they rebadged the Opel Omega and sold it as the Cadillac Catera, or when they rebadged the Opel Insignia and sold it as the Buick Regal. Sounds semi-premium to me.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Todd,

      If that were an actual wagon, it would have headroom in the second row (hint: kids are growing taller than their parents) and a rear opening larger than a mail slot (thank you Dodge Magnum for driving the nail a little deeper into the coffin).

  • avatar
    jatz

    Give us cushy-riding cars!

  • avatar
    KevinB

    With all of the recent press about Carlos Ghosn, it makes me wonder why Renaults haven’t shown up in Nissan showrooms.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Last year in November I tested the latest Peugeot 508 2.0 BlueHDI Diesel with 163-horsepower when I was looking for a new midsize car. It was a very nice experience because the car was both composed and comfortable, refined and had a quality cabin that looked felt like it belonged in the upper middle luxury segment. And as one would expect from a French car, it was very comfortable without sacrificing handling prowess. Good value for money, too.

    In the end I opted for the Skoda Octavia vRS Combi with the 150-horsepower 2.0 TDI motor, in red. It drove and handled a little bit sportier than the Peugeot and is comfortable enough for the needs of me and my wife.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “it was very comfortable without sacrificing handling prowess”

      Go ahead and sacrifice the handling prowess to give us extra cush.
      We’re Americans.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      I was in a similar situation 2 years ago, cross shopped the relatively rare 508 sedan, the Citroen C5 sedan and the Octavia – the Octavia won out with practicality of that liftback truck (which the original C5 had). I was hoping it would be reliable, but the water pump went at 47k.

      If the above pictured 508 is still on sale when the Octavia needs replaced I would be interested.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ ThomasSchiffer – Would you care to provide a mini-review for US and Canadian readers? We only get to see SEATs and Skodas when abroad. It’s interesting how VAG has evolved into an Alfred P. Sloan-ish hierarchy. It’s my (perhaps incorrect) impression that VAG is narrowing Skoda’s offerings a bit so it doesn’t tread on VW’s toes from below.

      I’m pro-Skoda based on the very specific experience of helping a friend change flats in London using 1st-gen Octavia liftback. It served us well, though I admit I’m a sucker for pretty much all late-’90s European five doors.

      I’m pro-Peugeot as well, based on three examples owned by two different friends. One was an ’84ish 505 bought new and daily driven into the 21st century (in the States, no less; the other two were in Britain).

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        @Featherston,

        Thank you for the offer, but I am afraid I would write a very mundane review, and I am absolutely horrible at taking photographs. There are some reviews on Youtube which may be of interest for you. Here is one such a review.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N1ugUXiyBik

        All I can say about my Octavia Combi vRS Diesel is that so far it has been very good and pleasing to drive. I received the vehicle in December 2018 and we (my wife and I) have already put 10,000 km+ on it. It is a perfect long distance cruiser, the oil-burning engine has impressive NVH capabilities, the DSG is wonderful and it features typical well-made Volkswagen Group interiors. The Octavia tends to be driven by my wife.

        My daily driver is an older fully-equipped Mercedes GL320 CDI 4Matic from 2007, which is rapidly approaching the 370,000 km mark. I tend to prefer SUVs.

        Personally I believe Skoda would be an interesting brand for the Volkswagen Group to bring across the Atlantic. Skoda can be positioned underneath Volkswagen as a value brand, just as they are here. Seat is their emotional, sporty brand which is generally also targeted at younger buyers.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    I would have bet big they would use the DS brand. The DS7 Crossback already looks like it was designed with the US market it mind.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’ve always respected the Peugeot. My first experience in a true rear drive sport sedan was a in a 405 STI 5 spd as a 14 y/o.The sportiest sedan up to that point was a Cressida. The son of a judge hijacked the old mans car for an afternoon and I tagged along with my older brother.
    I feel the French had a really strong influence on the Infiniti brand, with respect to composed ride without undue harshness.That hopefully will still be their calling card.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Had to bite. Cressida and Sport Sedan ? How is that in the same sentence?

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        cimarron typeR said “sportiest”, not “sporty” in an absolute sense. I knew two Cressida families back in the day, and in each case it was sportier than anything they’d owned over the previous 15-20 years.

        • 0 avatar
          VW4motion

          My parents owned a Cressida for about 6 years back in the late 80’s. Besides the rear end clunk, she was a great car. Sporty/Sportiest was not associated with the car.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            OK, I’m not sure if you’re joking, trolling, or not understanding. Forgive my pedantry.

            It’s perfectly OK to call a 50-year-old with a gimpy knee “fastest” if the comparison is to a 90-year-old with a walker and a newborn who can’t yet crawl. Similarly, it’s acceptable to call a Cressida “sportiest” if the comparison is to, for example, three mid-’70s Detroit full sizers with base engines and base suspensions.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      The Peugeot 405 STi was front wheel drive. Nice sports sedan and the last of Pugs sold here in the states in 91-92 along with the 505 RWD mid sized sedan and wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        I stand corrected, 505 ST/STi?

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Yes the 505 STi. In the 80’s the company I worked at had a number of company cars for the executives. They were allowed around $15k for a decent sport sedan. There were a couple of Maximas, a loaded Cimmaron! (F-41 suspension, 2.8 MPI) and a couple of loaded Cutlass Ciera’s. One executive decided to go with the 505 STi Turbo because he liked the comfortable ride and it was better than the PRV V6. I once rode in it and found it to be very smooth almost floating with great seats. Bon vivant.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Choice is always good, so I suppose a new brand can’t hurt. But these guys face a SERIOUS uphill battle. Mention the words “French car” to someone over 50, and the first connotation will be with stuff like LeCars, and anyone under 50 will likely think “freedom fry surrender monkey” and laugh it off.

    So, that leaves them with a narrow slice of buyers to buy those cars above, which look no different than what’s already on the market. Can’t see that working.

    Therefore, I propose they bring over nothing but the weird stuff. Go after the nonconformists, and go all the way with it. If they try to play against the mainstream brands, they’re going to fail – anyone who wants a generic-looking sedan can buy a Camry and not have to worry about reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Some of the names of Peugeot that they should use instead on the numbers

      Peugeot Rendons
      Peugeot Abandonner
      Peugeot Weirdoux

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        The French have been some of the biggest, toughest a-holes in human history and a lot of us still respect them.

        French-up the names and give us good cars; it’ll work.

        After all, no matter the brand name, the alternative is increasingly Chinese.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Hey, if not for the French, we’d be singing “God Save The Queen” before baseball games.

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          “we’d be singing “God Save The Queen” before baseball games.”

          Cricket matches that nowadays would reek of curry.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Russian Empire would help. Well, they did
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia_and_the_American_Revolution

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          “Hey, if not for the French, we’d be singing “God Save The Queen” before baseball games.”

          True. And if not for the Americans the French would be speaking German now. Guess we are even.

          That’s why French WWII rifles are so valuable, never been fired and only dropped once.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            markf,

            correction. If not for the Americans, French would speak Russian, at least, as major foreign language learned at school

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I wonder if they’ve been monitoring car blogs while they waited twenty eight years for Americans to stop talking about their French car ownership experiences.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        My sister had a Renault 16. It had to be possessed by Satan not so much by how unreliable it was (and it was very unreliable) but by where you were when it left you stranded (which was often). But it was a sample of one. Thankfully.

        Two guys I worked with, one from somewhere in Africa the other from Haiti said Peugeot was a favored brand for taxi use due to their durability. We’re not used to hearing that about French cars so maybe they’ll do better than we expect. Those are tough neighborhoods.

        The French see us beating up on Fiat 2.0 so they probably think they can sneak in quietly while we’re not looking.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You’re probably talking about the 504, which was a cockroach. I can think of other durable French cars (2CV, etc), but for the most part, these were junk.

          My dad had a Citroen SM, which was so bad that he threatened to burn it in front of the dealership in protest. Subsequent French cars didn’t exactly dissuade Americans from their pre-established notions.

          On a side note: I didn’t know Peugeot made a 504 coupe. Check this handsome devil out:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peugeot_504#/media/File:Peugeot_504_Coup%C3%A9_second_series_rear_three_quarters.JPG

          I’d buy that!

          • 0 avatar
            EGSE

            Yes, that is quite a handsome car. I’d buy that too but crashworthiness requirements mixed with CAFE has made this design language extinct. Such a shame.

            There was an SM down the street from my mother’s house. The owner took me for a spin and it had an amazing magic carpet ride. The adjustable oleo-pneumatic suspension always got unbelieving stares when he would run it up and down. Unfortunately it was like your dad’s; the poor reliability made it a hanger queen so he only kept it for a few years.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          The Peugeots of Africa had more to do with colonialism than any inherent strength of the 504. They only had other French cars to compare them to. In 2017, Peugeot had the 27th best selling model in Africa and falling. Maybe it is time for them to pull out of Africa for 28 years. Give people time to forget.

    • 0 avatar
      markf

      “and anyone under 50 will likely think “freedom fry surrender monkey” and laugh it off. ”

      The correct phrase is “Cheese eating surrender monkey”

      • 0 avatar
        lon888

        As an American who works for the French Air Force I rather take offense to that statement. If you would quit watching Fox news and read a history book you’ll read about the French putting up one hell of a resistance to the German army while the Brits were buggering out at Dunkirk – they really didn’t want the Germans on their home soil. Before our involvement in the Vietnam war, the French paratrooper forces were doing insane 200-meter drops and they warned us to stay out because they knew we didn’t know anything about asymmetrical warfare – but we didn’t listen. Prior to the U.S. invading Afghanistan, they warned us that an invasion would go nowhere and we would be stuck over forever – and that’s come true also. Right now the French Air Force is flying more sorties against ISIS troops in Syria than the U.S. and they are using their French Foreign Legion Forces in several North African states to combat terrorism. I have had the unique pleasure to work for many foreign militaries and by far the French have the most professional military in the world bar none. So like I said before, the next time you want to run down someone do your homework first before getting on the ignorant redneck knuckle-dragger band wagon.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    As the former owner of a 504 diesel wagon, I find Peugeot’s return to be an interesting development.

    They are going to have a tough time of it, I think.

    They’re going to have to find some kind of hook. As FreedMike noted, selling a relatively generic variant of whatever someone else is selling might not be the right approach. It will have to be something with a standout quality or theme that makes people willing to take a risk on a brand that is either unknown at best or with a poor quality rep from the 80’s at worst.

    It will have to have a brand identity that is funky, unique in some way that the mainstreams Americans are used to don’t match in their product line.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      Brings back memories. Rode in a 405 once. Gas, maybe 1.8 or 2.0? Wasn’t my car. We were in a big hurry, and drove four hours constantly doing 150-190 kph. That was what the tires were rated for, so my job was to watch the speedo not exceed that. I had to warn the driver three times only. It was basically pedal to the metal the whole way. Five college students in the car. Those were the days.

      I don’t think this is an American-market driven decision, bur more likely French-market driven desperation.

  • avatar
    d4rksabre

    Give me the Traveller or give me death!

  • avatar

    Tavares must still be missing an angel. Trump’s intentions to raise import tariffs on European cars will most definitely ruin Peugeot’s plans for the U.S. market.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Lynk & Co. will exist here by 2026, and that will be Peugeot’s biggest competition I think.

    Not using the Citroen brand is a mistake, since Peugeot is just known as the “normal” rebadges of the stereotypically French & Weird Citroens. Another brand selling normal cars won’t sell here, especially if none are made on this continent and if they’re not cheap.

    2026 is a long time away, I feel like this will be an EV & Subscription based operation by the time it shows up

  • avatar
    la834

    This is something PSA had to do, no matter how painful it will likely be. They can not continue to sit out the profitable North American market if they expect to have the economies of scale to compete with VW or Toyota or Ford. I do wonder what’s taking them so long though? 2026? Are you kidding me? Who knows what will happen in the next 7 years – the market may have shifted full speed to EVs by then, or maybe it won’t. They’ll need *something* to stand out from other manufacturers. Do French cars still have big soft seats and smooth rides? I hope so.

  • avatar
    James2

    I still have a soft spot for a Renault Fuego, Peugeot 405mi16 and Citroen XM. Too bad they all left the market by the time I could afford to buy a car.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    I have spent time in Denmark. And not sure what models I was looking at-but Peugeot makes some very attractive CUV/SUV’s.


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