PSA Group - the French automotive manufacturer who gave us Peugeots and Citroens automobiles, is seeking to establish a stronghold to the US Market, and naming the former TrueCar and Nissan Exec Larry Dominique to lead its conquest.
There has been several news in the past that mentions PSA Group's plan of expanding to the US, but it seems this time, it is for real. PSA's affinity for the US all started around 1960 when the Peugeot 404 sedan was made available to the public, and was followed by 504. The last vehicles that Peugeot released in the US were the squared styled, rear wheel drive 505 saloon and its wagon counterpart, and the front wheel drive 405 that has been made in both body styles.
Citroen also departed from USA as early as 1974, with chosen automobiles being shipped via specialist importers. The last offering of PSA Group is the DS Automobiles which is viewed as the store version of Citroen, a Lexus/Infiniti-ish offering that ranges from city hatches to midsize cars. Only recently, PSA obtained Opel- another auto manufacturer who has been long gone from US.
And now the French automaker powerhouse is setting its targets on US shores, hoping to anchor into the US market once again. PSA's CEO Carlos Tavares outlined a global business plan dubbed the "Push to Pass" wherein the company will reinvent itself as a mobility company and aim to produce vehicles unlike the hot hatches and the classic saloons. Automotive News is stating that the PSA group is finding ways to gain an invaluable position through ride-hailing and car sharing, utilizing its automobiles to obtain more public exposure. By doing this, PSA tapped the former Nissan Exec Larry Dominique, a 30 year expert of how the US automotive industry works, to carry the team and reclaim re-entry. Dominique quipped that it will take about 10 years to make the plan work, but that a US presence cannot be overlooked.
The initial steps have already begun as PSA and its partner TravelCar (a start up founded in 2012) has now started a car-sharing service at the Los Angeles Airport, labelled "Free2Move". Another program is called BlueLA, which produces 100 shared vehicles and 200 charging stations in Los Angeles, utilizing PSA's vehicles and its battery partner Bollore. An earlier development of the BlueLA program was instituted in Indianapolis, under the moniker of "BlueIndy". There has been no official statement yet on which of the 3 PSA brands, Peugeot, Citroen or DS will be hurled first and whether it will be followed immediately by another brand. The new VP will still decide if retailing will transpire through a traditional independent dealership network or another way.
Finding a place in the very crowded US markets is going to take a lot of patience and analysis as well as a lot of careful execution, Dominique remarked. And we readily agree with him, since a lot of powerhouse automakers are followed by plenty of loyal US clients.