It has been some time since we last reported on PSA Group's plan to re-enter the U.S. When we last checked in, Peugeot was chosen as the brand to be entering the U.S. by 2023 and rumors were swirling about a possible merger between PSA Group and FCA. A lot has changed since then as the two automakers begin to finalize plans for a merger, and the COVID-19 pandemic has no end in sight in the U.S. What does that mean for Peugeot's return to the U.S.?
"My role is to grow the PSA business in North America, growing our mobility capability and preparing for the launch of Peugeot." said Larry Dominique, CEO of PSA North America to Automotive News.
"From our standpoint, we're planning as if [the merger] doesn't exist. We're marching forward as if PSA was going to be there by themselves."
Dominique is right now focused on the present with the top priority being building out a dealer network for both U.S. and Canada before the launch. He explained that the company is planning a two-prong approach, having franchised dealers and online retailing.
"The future success for OEMs is the reduction of distribution costs while ensuring both retail and OEM margin sustainability. This has to be done through strong pricing power, not volume turnover," he said.
Part of this is due to COVID-19 pandemic which has many automakers rethinking how they sell vehicles, something Dominique admits is a big challenge.
"All my competitors are going to be focusing on digital, which means we have to step up our game and deliver an even stronger customer experience when we launch Peugeot in North America. We need to get out of an environment where the retailers are dependent upon just F&I and service to pay their bills."
Another challenge facing Dominique, what models to sell in the U.S. The market has changed a lot since PSA Group announced its intentions to re-enter the U.S. Consumers now are focused on trucks and crossovers.
"I don't have a full-sized truck,. But the C and D segments are what's relevant to us. The C and D segments are high volume and important to North America. That's where we're going to focus initially,"
To us, this hints at the 3008 and 5008 crossovers being some of the first models to be available.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)