The Stellantis picture is becoming clearer as the days wear on and its CEO Carlos Tavares speaks up. For a few years, the former Groupe PSA had made their plans known that the Peugeot nameplate would be heading back to the US. With the merger of it and Fiat Chrysler creating Stellantis those plans were muddled. Now Tavares says Peugeot won’t come to the US.
In a media call today Tavares said, “For the time being I don’t think that is part of the things that we want to prioritize for the next time window.” He went on to say that the combined talent, capital, and engineering be focussed on existing brands. “We need to improve what needs to be improved and to accelerate where we need to accelerate because we already have a very strong presence in this market.”
That “strong presence” is in reference to US brands
That “strong presence” is in reference to both Dodge and Chrysler as well as the obvious Ram and Jeep. But he was more specific about the Chrysler brand. Tavares said that Chrysler was “one of the three historical pillars of Stellantis,” according to Car and Driver. The other two being Fiat and Peugeot. Pinned down he added, “We are eager, and I am eager to give this brand a future.”
Until today nothing had been said publicly about the Chrysler brand. With Chrysler down to the aging 300 sedan and Pacifica minivan things looked bleak. Now with these comments, it looks like Chrysler is a lock for future new products. Though nobody is being specific it is assumed that by Peugeot changing plans for conquering the US Stellantis will use Chrysler as its conduit.
Last year the Chrysler brand sold mostly Pacifica vans. Of the 110,464 Chryslers sold almost 94,000 were Pacificas. Only 16,653 300 sedans were bought. That number was down 43% from 2019. The Pacifica showed a mild drop of 4% over 2019.
This year Chrysler cut back on available 300 trims
Now this year Chrysler cut back on available trims. Both the Limited and 300C models were axed leaving only the Touring and S trim levels. This led to speculation that Chrysler was headed toward the history books. And with nothing else seen in Chrysler’s five-year plan its days seemed numbered.
For Stellantis to make full use of its merger this makes the most sense. Rather than kill off one brand to launch one that hasn’t been sold here since 1991 it can dovetail the two. Chrysler can get rebadged Peugeots and do it with a built-in service, parts, and dealership infrastructure. Yes, it will take some scaling up but much less so than launching not only new models but an unfamiliar brand.
Now we look forward to seeing what Stellantis does with Chrysler, what Peugeot models it chooses to use, and the differentiation between the two. We don’t expect much before 2023 but with existing Peugeot and Renault models at their avail, we could see something in early 2022.