Back in 2016, Peugeot announced its intention to explore the return of the brand to the United States. The brand had previously shuttered US operations in 1991. However, the American market is just too large to ignore for too long. So, in February 2019, Peugeot announced they would return by 2026. Since then, its parent company merged with FCA, or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Now, the $50 billion merger seems to be speeding up their timeline of return even faster.
Existing dealer network
Peugeot’s merger with FCA means that a dealer network in the United States already exists. There is no longer a need to create one to enter the US market. Instead, the Chrysler network would become selling points of an additional brand. That brand being Peugeot.
Setting up the logistics for parts and service structures would also not be a concern for Peugeot since they would already be available through the existing Chrysler dealerships. With those in place already, the dealer, parts, and service network would make it possible for them to quickly introduce multiple models in the same model year.
Think of Tesla. They had a product and then had to create a dealer network for it. Then as sales began, they slowly introduced additional models. Peugeot is in a different situation altogether. Everything Peugeot needs already exists under the Chrysler dealership network. And, since Peugeot has already been designing vehicles with the United States in mind, their speed of entry can certainly be accelerated. All Peugeot has to do is update dealership signage and get their US prepared vehicles certified by the government as meeting or exceeding federal requirements.
What does an existing dealer network mean?
I know that seems like an overly simplistic view of the situation. It is a lot more complex than that. But the fact remains that an existing dealership network works in Peugeot’s favor quite handily. In fact, the existing dealer network is why some are speculating the Paris based brand could be back on our shores sometime in 2023.
What will Peugeot offer?
In an interview with PSA North America boss Larry Dominique, Car and Driver was able to determine that,
“Unsurprisingly, Peugeot will be going where the market is fattest, with mid and full-size models in a mix that will surely lean heavily toward crossovers.”
Also suggested in the interview was that Peugeot would enter the market with conventional engines, as well as hybrids, or some form of electrification.
One stumbling block Peugeot may have is that the American market loves its pickups. Peugeot doesn’t currently have a full-size pickup. It does, however, have a small/mid-size truck called the Landtrek. The Landtrek is currently available in Latin America and Africa. FCA’s Ram brand has been talking about bringing back the Dakota pickup. The Landtrek could speed that process up if it can be converted to meet American government standards. But, the Dakota may be too far along in development already. So, it would more than likely be a Ram Dakota that gets rebranded as a Peugeot. Selling both of them on the same dealer lot, however, would be difficult and unlikely. So, either the Dakota or the Landtrek will likely see US showrooms.
So, what does this all mean? Well, Peugeot was looking at returning to the US shores prior to the merger. Now that the merger with FCA has happened, it is likely that we will see the brand return to dealer lots quicker than the original 2026 timeline that was rolled out. The year 2023 seems aggressive, considering that the Peugeot/FCA merger completed only a few months ago. Nonetheless, a quicker time frame makes sense. In other words, it is conceivable that Peugeots will be in Chrysler showrooms by mid-decade. Consumers will have to wait and see.