The Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands are due to enter the North American car market under a ten-year plan laid out by company chief Carlos Tavares
5 April 2016

The PSA Group, incorporating the Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands, is to make a return to the North American car market that will take ten years to implement.

The plan for the French car giant to return to the US was revealed as part of the ‘Push to Pass’ strategy laid out by company boss Carlos Tavares, who described it as “a very significant decision for us”.

Citroën exited the American market in 1974, while Peugeot pulled out in 1991. However, the company has had a corporate presence there up until just three years ago.

PSA is plotting a three-stage comeback which will start in 2017, when it will enter the North American market as a “mobility provider” - essentially providing car-sharing schemes - albeit not necessarily with Peugeot, Citroën or DS products.

It is considering a collaboration with Bolloré Group, an existing strategic partner. The two companies already build a Bolloré-badged electric car at the PSA plant in Rennes, and it is likely that a similar model would be used to reintroduce PSA to North American and enable it to conduct customer research.

“This is a way for us to understand the customers, the stakeholders, the regulations, to ensure we completely feel the pulse of that big market,” said Tavares.

The second phase of the North American return would be to introduce PSA Group vehicles into the car-sharing schemes.

“If we are successful as a mobility operator, from there we will have the opportunity to put in our own fleets of cars, as soon as they are compliant with US regulations. Of course those fleets will remain under our control, as is normal in car-sharing activities. We will be able to ensure that our own cars are meeting the expectations of the local consumers,” explained Tavares.

“That’s the second step and eventually, if we are successful, if our products in our fleets are well appreciated by consumers, we will go to the third step,  which is to sell our own brands’ products in North America, eventually with local sourcing."

Tavares didn’t divulge long-term sales expectations for the PSA Group in North America, but said: “We will return to North America because we believe this is a place where we can make significant profit for PSA.

“This is a very thoughtful, progressive approach with a long-term perspective. We are doing this for the future generations of the company, starting from a very simple point, which is that if you want to be profitable and sustainable, you ought to do business in the three major markets in the world.

It is thought that the upmarket DS brand will lead the firm's relaunch in the USA, because its qualities as the only upmarket French car maker give it an opportunity to stand out in a market dominated by premium German brands.

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Comments
13

15 March 2016

Well, the good news is that they are making a profit now. Good on them :D

16 March 2016

And the bad news is that the DSs that they're marketing now are still a travesty of the original, and still not good enough to be perceived as a prestige brand. Perhaps getting their actual quality to be better than Hyundai might help?

30 March 2016

I really don't think this plan has much hope of success with the current range of cars. The US market is becoming more European every day, with hatchbacks starting to be more popular and big cars a thing of the past. But none of DS's current cars seems likely to succeed in that market. Maybe they should perfect walking before they start thinking about running.

30 March 2016

"...the upmarket DS brand will lead the firm's relaunch in the USA, because its qualities as the only upmarket French car maker..." DS is upmarket? Says who? PSA, presumably, and nobody else. Even if they had the right cars to support this aspiration (and they don't, at least not yet) it will take many years of effort to develop the sort of brand recognition and associated brand values they would need to challenge the Germans. Ask Lexus, Infiniti or Acura. To me, this looks worryingly reminiscent of Rover's last failed US adventure with the new and unknown Sterling brand, and we all know how that went. All that said, I'm pleased to see PSA is now in much better financial shape. I hope they can now afford to invest in cars that properly represent DS values; stylish, innovative and elegant, with superb ride comfort.

30 March 2016

Usual relibility comment...They've improved, move on. My C4 has only had 1 issue, a paint bubble on bonnet which was fixed under warranty. Car still feels solid was 3 years and 80k.

As for it not being premium, well I agree that the DS4 isn't great for the money, but the DS5 has a lush interior. I reckon second generation cars will be much better

30 March 2016

Usual relibility comment...They've improved, move on. My C4 has only had 1 issue, a paint bubble on bonnet which was fixed under warranty. Car still feels solid was 3 years and 80k.

As for it not being premium, well I agree that the DS4 isn't great for the money, but the DS5 has a lush interior. I reckon second generation cars will be much better

1 April 2016

And again. Perhaps if they improved their quality to match that of a Korean budget brand, Hyundai, which don't get delivered with obvious paint faults needing to be repaired, people might start to see Citroen as equal to a Korean budget brand and not inferior.
All Hyundai four door cars also come equipped with wind down windows at the rear, a feature regarded as seemingly unnecessary on Citroen Cacti and on 'upmarket' Audi competitor DSs
If they can't match the Koreans, how will they fare in a market that really puts the consumer first, like the US ?

2 April 2016
concinnity wrote:

which don't get delivered with obvious paint faults needing to be repaired, people might start to see Citroen as equal to a Korean budget brand and not inferior.

It wasn't delivered with it. This happened at 2 and a half years in and nearly 70000 miles. Not quite the same thing. Who is to say that something similar hasn't happened to a Kia C'eed?

31 March 2016

Americans have taken to the new Mini and Fiat 500, would they do the same for the DS3? The problem with the DS3 is that both the aforementioned cars hark back to past models in their look, giving buyers there something to refer to. The DS3 has no inherited history. Hmm.

6 April 2016
Phinehas wrote:

Americans have taken to the new Mini and Fiat 500, would they do the same for the DS3? The problem with the DS3 is that both the aforementioned cars hark back to past models in their look, giving buyers there something to refer to. The DS3 has no inherited history. Hmm.

I think fewer than 10k Minis were exported to the USA in the 1960s so I think current US buyers' knowledge of the original Mini is low. It's not like the UK or Australia where everybody had a Mini in their family somewhere during the 1960s and 1970s. I think therefore that the reason the Mini does so well in the US is not because of its heritage, rather, because:

1) the BMW association.
2) it is small - there are not many cars of comparable size in the US that are not complete rubbish.
3) quality.
4) styling.

In short: it is desirable vehicle.

The same argument applies to the Fiat 500. It's cute and desirable. The electric 500e is really popular in California particularly.

Citroen could achieve the same with DS3 if the quality is there. (And I mean the quality of the design, not build, though of course that is also important.)

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