The PSA Group has announced its intention to re-enter the US market – again. It last announced plans to analyse whether the US market was good for their brands three years ago. Now the company has said that it is committed to do it – in five years time!
The PSA Group holds the rights to the Citroen, DS, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Opel marques and all of them in some form have already been in that market – clearly Vauxhall and Opel have shared components and design features with the US thanks to being owned by General Motors for nearly a century prior to the sale to PSA last year. Citroen pulled out in 1974 when they collapsed financially and were bailed out by the French Government and Peugeot left the market in 1991 – much to the dismay of Colombo – remember he drove a battered Peugeot in the TV series!
The original announcement was back when the PSA Group was in one of its restructuring modes and working to get the partners back into profit by concentrating on the European and Chinese markets. The plan for the US is quite interesting, as noted above, they plan to sell cars to consumers by 2026 and it will be Peugeot first, not the DS line of sports cars from Citroen or that parent marque. However in the preceding years they want to provide cars to mobility services and ride-sharing companies which will allow them to “understand the customer base and what they want”.
Perhaps they could convert one of their 5008 or 3008 SUVs to a light truck to compete with the Big Three or go in with an electric or hybrid that has a longer range than any other manufacturer. We think by the time they have figured out what the consumer wants – and built it – the market will have changed.
Motorsport is an option to sell their cars too and we noted that in the discussions with the media, their spokesman pointed out the two wins in the Indy 500 (1913 and 1916) however the group has had a lot of recent success with Citroen in rallying and Peugeot on the track. Getting involved with Indy or another national series would do more for their image than mobility services which are geared to those people who are not consumers for automobiles – that is why they use those services in the first place!
The biggest obstacle in their way right now is based in the Far East: notably the Chinese manufacturers who are setting up shop in the US right now, with product that has a European design and is competitively priced. By 2026, there will be more electric cars on the market and that has to be a focus for them in this market.