By on November 1, 2019

Citroen C4 Cactus, Image: PSA Group

As you learned yesterday, Fiat Chrysler and France’s Groupe PSA have agreed on a merger plan, paving the way for the creation of the world’s fourth-largest automaker. FCA boss Mike Manley calls it a “compelling” opportunity. PSA chief Carlos Tavares claims it heralds a “bright future” for the combined entity.

Renault is left wondering what could have been.

Should the marriage come to pass, it opens up an opportunity for North American buyers to have greater access to a range of French cars, not to mention models built by the formerly GM-owned Opel. What would you like to see at your local Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealer?

It’s true that we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. PSA already has a long-range plan for the introduction of the Peugeot brand to the U.S. and Canada, and the automaker’s North American boss, Larry Dominique, has signalled in the past that it may offer a unique arrangement for the selling of those vehicles. However, a merger with FCA opens the door to the brand making use of the Italian-American automaker’s established dealer network.

While this may not be the route PSA takes, and it may not be a scenario FCA wants (cash-saving synergies and joint electric vehicle development rank high on the two companies’ list of concerns), it remains a possibility.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the merger does open the European floodgates, allowing a pathway for currently-unattainable PSA exotics to reach the hands of long-suffering North American buyers. We’re not just talking Peugeots here, but any vehicle sheltered under the PSA umbrella. (In this thought exercise, FCA-PSA makes a worthwhile profit off of each model it imports, regardless of volume. There’s no local production in PSA’s U.S. reentry plan).

You’ve been longing for French cars for some time. Tell us what you want.

[Image: Groupe PSA]

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63 Comments on “QOTD: Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram-Dream Fodder?...”


  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Peugeot 208 and 308 GTI – though I wonder how successful a hot hatch would be in America these days. Probably not much except for a handful of people.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Divide…exactly the two I’d like to see come over here. And neither has a snowball’s chance of actually being imported to the US.

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        They would be a nice replacement for the loss of the Fiesta ST and Focus ST; and an option instead of the VW GTI. But yes, you’re right that the chances are low as well… the Detroit Lions winning the super bowl.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      I think there is space for Peugeot in the US. They do make convincing coupes and sedans. But it will be a niche in the CUV and SUV hungry US market. The only caveat is that FCAP will need to EXECUTE. The Alfa Romeo launch was just awful, with known quality and reliability issues plaguing what should have been a stellar vehicle (and indeed is when they run properly).

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Not strictly adhering to Steph’s question, as since it is a Fiat, FCA could have brought it to North America years ago if they thought it was worth it, but I would love to see Fiat Panada 4×4’s available here. Even some of the ‘special edition’ or ‘off road’ models.

    And hate to be pedantic (yeah, sure), particularly since I am ‘breaking the rule’ regarding the question, but surely it should be the ‘re-introduction’ or ‘return’ of Peugeot, not the ‘introduction’?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree – I like the Panda too. Basic, cheap, simple, small – probably an ideal first car for kids.

      And I know why they didn’t bring it over – they’d rather those kids buy a much more expensive Jeep Renegade.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And here’s another Fiat I’d like to see come over…

      https://www.fiat.co.uk/fiat-500x/sport

      The 500X is actually pretty likable as it is, but with the 270-hp turbo from the Cherokee, this would be a very interesting little car.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The few that may interest some enthusiasts will likely never come, the ones that do come are going to be as interesting as the Trax.

    No one on this side of the Pond wins from this match up. Just means more pet projects like Alfa Romeo, and Fiat, and less interesting products like the full-size BOF from Jeep, next gen V8, and next gen Charger. America gets royally screwed with this deal.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t know that PSA makes anything that I’d personally buy.

    My biggest hope is that their low-displacement engines and PHEVs are popular enough in the US to provide enough CAFE offsets that the company can continue building V6 (I6?) and V8 vehicles.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’d like to see the entire Citroen line come over. Yes, I know it won’t sell. But, by God, something weird needs to be on dealer lots these days.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Time for some radical marketing.
      How about the Peugeot/Citroen/Elio/NIO/CBD oil SUPERSTORE?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Quite a few Citroens – particularly the DS line – would be great options amid a sea of safe, conservative and boring automotive designs now offered in the U.S. If the company is concerned about public perception of Citroen or Peugeot, then brand them as Chryslers. It works for me.

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks

    While in Spain last year, we got a surprise upgrade at the rental counter to the DS7 Crossback, from Citroën’s Infinity-like sub brand. After 10 days crossing the country in that vehicle, I could see it competing very nicely and competently with the likes of the near-luxury small CUV offerings we already have in the US. Still quirky and fun, as all Citroëns should be. But with a bit more stoicism and restraint.

    Enjoyable styling aside, it was the first French car I’ve driven in Europe that didn’t feel hollow, flimsy, or (too) underpowered. Like most of my experience with PSA and Nissan/Renault, it was also fun to drive. Were it available here and were I in the market for a small tall wagon, it would be on my short list.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I’d like to see an updated AWD Cordoba, and a return to the original compact size Dodge minivan with an updated drivetrain, and take another stab at a slightly larger Dodge Dart, with a V6 engine.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Back here on Earth, what you’re looking for is the Dodge Challenger GT AWD (already on sale) and the Ram ProMaster City Wagon 7-pass (not available here but sold as the Fiat Doblo Wagon in Europe).

      I too would like to see the 7-pass variant of the ProMaster City on our shores, as it would be a suitable replacement for my aging Mazda 5. That or the Fiat 500L Wagon. Either would suffice, but neither ever will.

      • 0 avatar
        ZeroCarsYet

        I would not be surprised if the Fiat Doblo ends up being one of the first casualties of this merger. It is ancient (introduced in 2010-ish) and PSA has recently introduced the third generation of the Berlingo/Partner vans. The Opel Combo used to be based on the Doblo but was updated with a PSA-derived version after the take over of Opel. The weird looking Fiat might soon suffer the same fate.

        In fact, I believe that the commercial vehicles are one of the areas were it might actually is possible to capitalize on the merger within a few years. The Fiat Ducato (known as Ram ProMaster state-side) is already a joint venture with PSA. Furthermore, Fiats offering in the midsize van segment, the Fiat Talento, is sourced from Renault.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    “Should the marriage come to pass, it opens up an opportunity for North American buyers to have greater access to a range of French cars…..”.

    As I’m sure we’ve all been waiting with bated breath for this to happen.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Some years ago I drove some Opel/Vauxhall models back-to-back on the same course as many U.S. market vehicles. The ride/compliance/handling of the Opel/Vauxhall vehicles was outstanding by comparison. (I would love to do the same comparison today.)

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    How are Peugeots and other French brands for reliability? I have no idea since we get so little exposure to them here.

    • 0 avatar
      WriterRRex

      This.
      If the vehicles aren’t reliable, why bother? As is it, one of the current slams against Chrysler/Dodge is based on their reliability/longevity.

      The other issue here is branding. How are these going to be marketed? Entry luxury? Luxury? Mass market? Niche vehicles focused on engineering or performance or technology? After all, how many entry luxury vehicles can America handle? And current demand for EV seems limited. Will the brands stay French or will those vehicles eventually fold into the Chrysler and Dodge brands? (Chrysler as an upper end mass market, Dodge for performance, with the foreign brands using one side or the other?

    • 0 avatar

      Europeans tolerate it but that doesn’t say much.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I will pass on any vehicle made by PSA and this merger. There are a few GM models I might buy in the future but for the most part I will stick with Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Gimme a Peugeot 508 SW with a Pentastar V6.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I am not paying health insurance to some ignorant [non]french building it. Therefore I don’t care.
    I am waiting for Skoda

  • avatar
    NoID

    I don’t care if it’s a PSA model, badge-engineered version sold under the FCA brands, or something jointly developed, but PLEASE give me the option of a midsize or compact car. Surely the efficiencies gained by this merger would allow for that…right?

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      The Buick Regal/TourX is selling poorly and not long for the US market. As long as GM doesn’t have exclusive rights, and since it’s already federalized, a wing-badged Opel Insignia could return as a zombie Chrysler 200X, Sebring, Conquest, LeBaron, Cordoba, etc.

      Looking over the PSA lineup, they have a bunch of small hatchbacks and CUVs. Sadly, there’s not a big future for cars statesides. And do we really need a dozen more CUVs, as nice as some of them are?

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Can anyone here remember an automotive merger between two big companies that actually went well?

  • avatar
    Steve203

    Ah! I finally figured out what Tavares gets from this bit of empire building: halo cars.

    Reportedly, he had been sniffing around at JLR. Reports have had the Grand Wagoneer pushing into the Range Rover price range.

    Tavares thinks he sees where FCA went wrong and has ambitions of turning Alfa into a Jag competitor and Jeep into a Range Rover competitor.

    So, the future PSA line in the EU would be:

    City Car: Fiat 500 and Panda, because they vastly outsell the Pug 108

    Every other mass market passenger car and SUV segment in Europe: current Pugs

    EU Premium cars and SUVs; Alfa, Maser and Jeep.

    US mass market SUVs: Pugs, with either Dodge or Chrysler badge pasted on them.

    Renegade and Compass gone as they would compete with the Pug SUVs and blur the new high end Jeep positioning.

    Jeep Cherokee, GC and Waggy run up to the sky in price.

    Fiat gone. Dealers who poured money into a Fiat “studio” get the “reinvigorated” Alfa and Maser Jag wannabe lines.

  • avatar
    st301gpman

    Cactus in that odd shade of blue-green

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Not sure what holes Peugeot would fill – quirky Euro is either gone (Saab) or covered (Volvo, Alfa, MINI and Fiat).’Impress the neighbors with cheap luxury lease’ is covered by BMW, MB, Jag and Land Rover. Common Euro is covered by VW.

    Even with CUVs, Peugeot would sell to the handful of people who want unique and different and then sales would crash. Especially if Peugeots need Euro-level maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      ZeroCarsYet

      Semi-luxury? Peugoet is defiantly not comparable to BMW, MB, or Jaguar. I the european market their role is to be mainstream, offering bang-for-the-buck transportation for people who are not willing to spend VW-money on personal transportation. This comes at a cost, long-term reliability and resale tend to be pretty bad.

      However, I do think that the new (newish) 3008/5008 cuvs are pretty good looking and I understand why many people are tempted by them. But the main rival is not VW, or any other upmarket manufactorer; it is Nissan (mainly the Qashqai – as the Rogue Sport is called in that market).

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    What I would WANT has nothing to do with what would actually SELL.

    Give me your large serenely riding sedans with enough torque and hp to be entertaining. Whatever the modern equivalent of “the Goddess” (Citroen.)

    Likely PSA will ditch the Opel platforms and put everything on their platforms. I’m quite happy with the ride quality and handling of my Buick by Opel so this likelihood saddens me.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      >>Likely PSA will ditch the Opel platforms <<

      A condition of the sale agreement with GM prohibits PSA selling cars with GM intellectual property in any market in the world where GM has a presence. So, the contract pretty much requires future Opels to be rebadged Pugs.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Which when you read European reviews that include Opels and Vauxhall cars head to head with the Peugeots they compete against the Opels and Vauxhalls generally come out ahead.

        If Peugeot was to bring its cars here (under whatever brand umbrella) I would be forced to go test drive a Peugeot 308 GT SW.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Good for you. I don’t even know, what I want. And even if I did, I am off car market for good while

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I have never longed for a French car; or an Opel or a Vauxhall.

    I would have preferred to have seen FCA straighten out what they already had. Of course they could have done that without PSA so I see no reason to assume it will happen in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @rpol35: Honestly, the Saturn brand running Opel drivetrains were surprisingly reliable and durable cars–their owners on average loved them and stayed loyal to the brand. When GM started putting Honda and other drivetrains in, they started having problems that ended up destroying the brand.

      That said, I see the potential with this matchup but question whether the existing dealership network will support it whole-heartedly; certainly they didn’t support the Fiat/Chrysler matchup and many dealerships went out of their way to ensure the failure of Fiat sales–especially when they were required to maintain separate Fiat/Alfa studios. Those Fiat/Alfa studios should have been completely independent of the existing network–no financial connection to nearby JCPD dealerships whatsoever. The Fiat brand might have seen better sales as a result.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Peugeot is coming out with a couple of electric CUVs in Europe that have sensibly sized batteries (150-200 miles). If brought to the US those could help EV prices take one more step downward. But I doubt they’d actually be the BEVs I’d want to buy.

    Beyond that… I got nothing. I don’t particularly care if the low end of the Jeep lineup is based on Fiat or Peugeot platforms, and that’s the most likely impact on the US market from this deal. Nothing FCA US developed is going to change.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Personally I would like to see the Opel Insignia hatch and wagon come stateside branded as Chrysler’s because that would be funny.

    Realistically though, we wont get anything interesting. All we can count on is more pickup trucks and crossovers.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “However, a merger with FCA opens the door to the brand making use of the Italian-American automaker’s established dealer network.”

    — This I strongly oppose!!!! Bringing French-built cars into the existing dealership network almost guarantees the failure of the US market for them as too many of those dealerships forced FCA to retain them despite their poor reputation for sales and service. Even suggesting those dealerships try to support another “foreign” brand means they’ll do their best to ensure Peugeot’s reputation is no better than Fiat’s.

    If anything, I think FCA/PSA needs to franchise otherwise independent dealerships to carry the Fiat/Peugeot/Citroën brands and leave the existing network to Jeep/Dodge/Chrysler.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    One more thought.

    What I would really like to see PSA build and sell is a modernized, electric-powered take on the Citroën CX. The CX was a fantastic luxury car let down by a completely ordinary four-cylinder engine. Hydropneumatic suspension and soft French seats accomplished serenity far better than the Detroit boats ever did, and silent electric power would just make that recipe even more compelling.

    Unfortunately, that’s not what the Chinese market wants, so we’ll never see it. (Or probably the American one, where everyone is still in thrall to the German idea of “luxury” meaning austere performance.)

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Obviously, access to the profits generated by Jeep and RAM are what FCA is bringing. Chrysler and Dodge are dead brands walking.

    The Peugeot 505 would make for a nice Chrysler if they want to try to resuscitate the brand. Its an outstanding looking car similar in concept to the VW Aerton that would probably sell about as well as that model. Meaning not much.

    Otherwise, best to look at the Peugeot and Citroen small and mid size CUVs as what we are likely to see. FCA needed access to PSA’s electric platform tech both for the US as well as EU, where increasing CO2 limits are going to wreak havoc on ICE models.

    Ironically, US could end up getting Vauxhauls, this time PSA based, manufactured in the UK post Brexit under a US/UK trade deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Dying brands, yes; but not dead yet. What Chrysler and Dodge need is a complete rejuvenation. Fiat has been feeding Italian technologies into the American bodies and rebadging them as Italian brands Those bodies need more than a refresh and honestly their styles are so long in the tooth that their muzzles have gone grey (meaning essentially unchanged and aging poorly.) It’s time to bring style back and clearly the Fiat side of the company hasn’t figured out how to build an appealing luxury vehicle. I personally hope that the Peugeot/Citroën side of the new company can offer some appealing designs without sacrificing what the brands used to be.

  • avatar
    DragDog

    DS, especially DS3 Racing, to provide a counterpoint to MINI.

    Since we’re dreaming…

    Rebadge the Peugeot 2008 EV as the Chrysler Aspen, so FCA-PSA has at least a fighting chance to meet CAFE targets.

    Bring back Dodge FWD pocket rockets:
    208 GTI => Neon R/T
    308 GTI => Daytona R/T
    508 w/ Pentastar and stick shift => Avenger R/T

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Steve Biro–I like cars that are reliable, I have had enough oddball and unique items whether it be vehicles, computers, lawn equipment, and other items that were costly and eventually I disposed of them out of frustration and economic necessity (cut the umbilical cord that was draining my wallet). I love vehicles but I don’t love them to the point that I discard all logic and common sense.

  • avatar
    TimK

    Does anyone here remember all the breathless claims and articles about Chinese nameplates entering the U.S. auto market? But this time things will be different…

  • avatar
    902Chris

    They should build the Peugeot Rifter 4×4 concept car for North America.

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