Jump to content
  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Afterthoughts: The French Question

      Peugeot is making a comeback to the U.S.! Hooray?

    The reaction Peugeot’s return to the U.S. Market a couple weeks back falls into three categories.

    1. OMG! We're getting exciting French cars again
    2. Why is another automaker coming to the U.S.?
    3. Split between 1 and 2

    I should say that I fall into camp three at the moment. Previously, I was in number one when the rumors began to swirl around about PSA Group - parent company of Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall - making a possible return in late 2014. The dreams about possibly seeing a small number of Citroen and DS vehicles running around the U.S. sparked some joy. Peugeot was nowhere to be seen in my fantasy as they were seen to be somewhat bland in terms of their design.

    But once I had my dream play through my head, I began to wonder if this could work out for PSA Group. Despite being seen as the holy grail to many outside automakers, the U.S. is very notorious to break in and keep going forward. Consider these quotes from a 2016 report in Automotive News (Subscription Required).

    Quote

    Invading the U.S. auto market takes equal parts chutzpah and sangfroid. There are 42 brands here hawking 283 nameplates in different models and configurations. Some brands have dropped out, while competitive realities have kept other wannabes from ever making a beachhead.

    The list of failed and stalled entrants here includes Italy's Fiat and Alfa Romeo -- both of which are currently attempting second assaults after retreating in 1983 and 1995, respectively. It includes Japanese carmakers Daihatsu and Isuzu, South Korea's Daewoo, and China's Chery Automobile.

    "People around the world look at the sales volumes going on here, and they look at the fortunes being made here, and they look at what the outlook is in other parts of the world -- and they want to be here," said Charlie Hughes, owner of the brand-consulting firm Brand Rules. Hughes played a key role in introducing the British premium SUV brand Land Rover to the United States in 1987 and was CEO of Mazda North American Operations. 

    So when PSA made their official announcement in 2016, some of my worries began to drift away.

    Quote

    Step one: Enter the U.S. as a mobility operator from 2017, possibly with Bollore,” said Tavares. Bollore is a French company that builds batteries and compact EVs that are mainly used by a French car-sharing service, Autolib. Citroën and Bollore are currently working together to bring a concept EV into production.
    Step two: Start up a car-sharing program (i.e. Zipcar, GM's Maven) that would be owned and operated by PSA.
    Step three: If the first two steps are successful, PSA could return “to sell cars in the U.S. supported by regional sourcing when appropriate,” Tavares said.

     

    PSA would also conduct extensive research into the U.S. marketplace to determine which brand would take the charge. The end goal was to possibly have a brand in the country by 2026. Possibly is the keyword as they made clear that could pass on this idea if various conditions weren't met.

    Since that announcement, PSA has been making some inroads into this plan,

    • Establishing a North American office and bringing in Larry Dominique (formerly of Nissan and TrueCar) as the head
    • Launching a ride-sharing and car sharing app in various U.S. cities
    • Starting to develop vehicles for the U.S.

    The most recent announcement of Peugeot as the lead brand surely disappointed some folks as the likes of the C4 Cactus and DS5 would not arriving. But the decision does show the amount of thought and work that has been happening behind the scenes. 

    Quote

    “Even though Peugeot left in 1991 ... the awareness of the brand and the opinion of the brand are still strong. So, we have a strong starting point with which to start the discussion with consumers,” Dominique said.

    “There wasn’t any negative association with the brand. A lot of people said, ‘I don’t know why they left’.”

    Still, PSA Group and Peugeot still have a tough hill to climb. Reading through the comments on the article written by Drew, there are two common issues pointed out. One is how Peugeot doesn't have anything unique in their lineup. Two is how Peugeot could be entering a marketplace that is possibly on the verge of a recession.

    Let's begin with design. Out of all of the brands under the PSA umbrella, Peugeot plays it very much safe in terms of design. While the brand has been taking some risks in the past few years (especially with their interiors) they are no-where near the likes of Citroen. This difference is very apparent in the history of the two brands, 

    • Peugeot producing vehicles that were efficient and simple. But some of those design could jump in terms of elegance.
    • Citroen pushing the envelope with their designs that are either praised or hated. DS falls under this umbrella as well.

    My hunch is that PSA figured that sending either Citroen or DS would be problematic because they might not appeal to consumers, and just sit on lots.

    The second reason does hold slightly more water. Signs are beginning to appear that the U.S. economy could be heading towards a recession - a key item being pointed at is the drop in new car sales. If Peugeot was to enter at the present time, the consequences could be severe and put them in a difficult spot.

    But as noted, Peugeot will not be arriving until 2026. That's over six years away and in that time, the economy could be recovering from the recession in question. 

    Time is also the biggest enemy to Peugeot. In six years time, the U.S. marketplace could be in a completely different state than where it stands now. Crossovers and SUVs dominate the sales charts at the moment, but it might be electric vehicles that become the dominant choice. There are also various regulations that may come into fruition, along with the possibility of new tariffs on vehicles built in Europe.

    There’s also the issue of trying to stand out in the U.S. marketplace. Consider this for a moment; there are over forty automakers selling just under 300 or so nameplates. With the prospect of more automakers from China expected to arrive in the next few years, Peugeot might be entering a crowded field. Some of their current models have the looks, but can it combat strong competition that has a long history and reputation in the country?

    One item is very clear, PSA Group isn't stupid. They're taking their time and doing a lot of behind the scenes work before introducing their first models in the U.S. Whether or not this proves to the big success or the white flag being raised remains to be seen.



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    My gut tells me they will FAIL. Fiat is a FAILURE, ALFA is back from the Grave by ROBBING the profits of Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Chrysler. Yet the Quality of both name plates are terrible. Billions spent, very little return compared to the abuse that the name plates that keep making profits take.

    Over all, I was hoping for the DS line, but clearly that is not what they think can work.I do not believe like the story says that PSA is stupid, but I do think they are not acting fast enough and are not looking down the road long enough to what they really need to do here.

    I think a socialist car company with poor quality issues is going to fail long term and some European gov is going to have to bail them out or let market dynamics play out and kill it.

    • Thanks 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    There are a few things the French do well.  Cars are NOT one of them.  Peugeot should stay in Europe, thank you very much.

    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    bring over a loaf of bread shaped like an SUV with 0.05 inches of extra ground clearance and some gray plastic cladding and americans will buy it/

    • Haha 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      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)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      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)
    • By William Maley
      The news came during dinner last Monday. My mother asked if I would be able to take any time off of work, and I said that I might be able to if the circumstances were considered important. She revealed that my grandfather, her dad passed away that afternoon. It wasn’t from COVID-19, but other complications that had put in him the hospital since early June. After dinner, I needed some time and space to begin processing the news. So I grabbed the keys to my car and went for a drive.
      The past few months have been difficult for all of us in varying degrees with COVID-19. Many places going on lockdown have caused massive disruptions to how we work, travel, and interact with the world. I have been hunkered down at home since mid-March when my employer announced our office would be closed for the time being, and we would be working from home. During the first month or so, I had put a moratorium on driving except for essential places such as the grocery store or pharmacy. Isolating to prevent catching and/or spreading the virus took priority over going for a drive. But after a month of just being in a house with family and doing the same things over and over, I was going stir crazy. 
      I realized that I needed some space to not only prevent myself from losing it, but to give me some room to think about everything floating in my mind. Going for daily walks either by myself or with the dog helped a bit. But I still felt like I needed some more space, more time to myself.
      Back in 2015, I wrote an Afterthoughts column titled The Escape Machine. I talked about how the car for some of us was a way to escape the world for a time. You could go anywhere depending on how much fuel was in the tank and give the space needed to clear or process whatever was on the mind. I ended the piece with these two lines,
      That decision for me came in late April/early May. I would go for long drives, provided that I would wear a mask if I got out to go for a walk. Going for the first drive in over a month was a bit of revelation. Turing the steering wheel, pressing down on the accelerator and brake; and watching the world go past in blur made me realize how much I missed this. This seems like a trope, but you have a newfound appreciation for something you haven’t done in some time. This also gave me the space to begin piecing together various thoughts such as how do I keep myself from falling into the endless pit of despair, what can I do to keep myself from feeling bored, and do I dive back into automotive writing.
      I didn’t know how important this would become in the coming weeks as COVID-19 cases increased, the economy would come to a screeching halt; and the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing fallout. Whenever my mind would become overwhelmed or I just get too frustrated, I would hop into my vehicle and go somewhere. It didn’t matter where or how long, just as long as I had some space to think or to calm down, it would be enough.
      Back to last Monday night. As I drove, there was a lot I needed to process in terms of grief and wondering what would happen next: Would there be a funeral, what precautions should I take, will it be a long ceremony, and so on. I didn’t come up with any clear answers to these questions, but having that time to start putting things into perspective helped. 
      It was on the way back that another thought popped into my head. At the moment, we’re all trying to find some sense of normal in a world that isn’t. For auto enthusiasts, that is to drive as it gives some sort of control. It may be a small thing, but they provide some much-needed comfort.
      Like many of us, I don’t what the rest of year holds if it continues to be a landfill fire or somehow begins to contain itself. But I do know that I’ll likely be taking more drives, whether that be my car or one that I’m reviewing. Having something that provides a sense of normal is welcomed.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The news came during dinner last Monday. My mother asked if I would be able to take any time off of work, and I said that I might be able to if the circumstances were considered important. She revealed that my grandfather, her dad passed away that afternoon. It wasn’t from COVID-19, but other complications that had put in him the hospital since early June. After dinner, I needed some time and space to begin processing the news. So I grabbed the keys to my car and went for a drive.
      The past few months have been difficult for all of us in varying degrees with COVID-19. Many places going on lockdown have caused massive disruptions to how we work, travel, and interact with the world. I have been hunkered down at home since mid-March when my employer announced our office would be closed for the time being, and we would be working from home. During the first month or so, I had put a moratorium on driving except for essential places such as the grocery store or pharmacy. Isolating to prevent catching and/or spreading the virus took priority over going for a drive. But after a month of just being in a house with family and doing the same things over and over, I was going stir crazy. 
      I realized that I needed some space to not only prevent myself from losing it, but to give me some room to think about everything floating in my mind. Going for daily walks either by myself or with the dog helped a bit. But I still felt like I needed some more space, more time to myself.
      Back in 2015, I wrote an Afterthoughts column titled The Escape Machine. I talked about how the car for some of us was a way to escape the world for a time. You could go anywhere depending on how much fuel was in the tank and give the space needed to clear or process whatever was on the mind. I ended the piece with these two lines,
      That decision for me came in late April/early May. I would go for long drives, provided that I would wear a mask if I got out to go for a walk. Going for the first drive in over a month was a bit of revelation. Turing the steering wheel, pressing down on the accelerator and brake; and watching the world go past in blur made me realize how much I missed this. This seems like a trope, but you have a newfound appreciation for something you haven’t done in some time. This also gave me the space to begin piecing together various thoughts such as how do I keep myself from falling into the endless pit of despair, what can I do to keep myself from feeling bored, and do I dive back into automotive writing.
      I didn’t know how important this would become in the coming weeks as COVID-19 cases increased, the economy would come to a screeching halt; and the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing fallout. Whenever my mind would become overwhelmed or I just get too frustrated, I would hop into my vehicle and go somewhere. It didn’t matter where or how long, just as long as I had some space to think or to calm down, it would be enough.
      Back to last Monday night. As I drove, there was a lot I needed to process in terms of grief and wondering what would happen next: Would there be a funeral, what precautions should I take, will it be a long ceremony, and so on. I didn’t come up with any clear answers to these questions, but having that time to start putting things into perspective helped. 
      It was on the way back that another thought popped into my head. At the moment, we’re all trying to find some sense of normal in a world that isn’t. For auto enthusiasts, that is to drive as it gives some sort of control. It may be a small thing, but they provide some much-needed comfort.
      Like many of us, I don’t what the rest of year holds if it continues to be a landfill fire or somehow begins to contain itself. But I do know that I’ll likely be taking more drives, whether that be my car or one that I’m reviewing. Having something that provides a sense of normal is welcomed.
    • By Drew Dowdell
      In a discussion about their pending merger, Fiat Chrysler revealed that the combined company's future vehicles in the small to mid-size range will be built on two of PSA's platforms.  The reasoning behind it is that PSA's platforms are more modern than FCA's which first debuted in 2003. They are also capable of a wider range of propulsion methods like electrification that are harder to incorporate into the aging platform that FCA is using.  
      The smaller of the two platforms, PSA's CMP, launched last year is found under the Peugeot 208, 2008, DS 3 Crossback and the new Opel Corsa.  The larger platform is called EMP2 and launched in 2016.  It underpins the Peugeot 3008, 5008, 508, DS7 Crossback, Citroen C5 Aircross, and Opel Grandland. Both of these platforms could become the basis for new Jeep, Dodge, and Fiat models. The first possible FCA model to debut on one of these platforms is likely to be a small crossover for Alfa Romeo, due out in 2022.
      On the other hand, the Ram trucks and larger Jeep models will continue to use technology developed by FCA.  The next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is already well into development and the forthcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are set to go into production in early 2021. 
      The primary question mark remains around the larger Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger, and Chrysler Pacifica. 

      View full article
  • Posts

    • The $6300 Inscription package seems like a big waste of money, especially since part of it is a stereo upgrade when there is $3200 then added on for another stereo upgrade.
    • After taking a better look at the pics associated with this, I realize it's a complete concept car, rather than one intended to be filtered down to production form. That's good; as a stand-along piece it has some design issues. For one - it appears like the windshield is melting / falling into the passenger compartment. That said, it doesn't repulse me as a segment entry (an EV CUV), but the name is blasphemous, IMO.
    • That's a Brewster-bodied Ford, so not factory, in case anyone was wondering if Ford built something that brash then (they didn't).
    • Another reason for my dislike of the UAW. They leaders are screwing the union members. Former UAW president pleads guilty to embezzling union funds https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-autos-labor-corruption/former-uaw-president-pleads-guilty-to-embezzling-union-funds-idUSKBN26L3KY Time to face the Music Audi Ex-CEO, VWE expect more costs associated with Dieselgate. Ex-Audi chief arrives in German court to face dieselgate charges https://www.reuters.com/article/us-volkswagen-emissions-audi/ex-audi-chief-arrives-in-german-court-to-face-dieselgate-charges-idUSKBN26L1KG      
  • Social Stream

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. BowTieFarmer
      BowTieFarmer
      (61 years old)
    2. JohnPC
      JohnPC
      (41 years old)
    3. Ukarry
      Ukarry
      (30 years old)
    4. will75
      will75
      (45 years old)
  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • My Clubs

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×
×
  • Create New...