With Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot’s parent company PSA Group officially merged, the automotive world is about to get very interesting. For one, it could mean a return to the US for French brands like Peugeot and Citroen, which ducked out decades ago. For another, it could mean more vehicles from Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler could make their way across the pond. With the two groups sharing development costs and technology, there are lots of possibilities when it comes to new vehicles. For example, pickup trucks. Europeans are already importing more American pickups to fill a needed gap in their vehicle options. With this FCA-PSA merger, both the European and American pickup markets could see some expansion.
Why PSA Would Want Pickups in Europe
Although Europeans have tended to view pickups as utilitarian tools, rather than objects of luxury, that perspective is changing. American pickups offer more room and better towing capabilities than many commercial European-market vehicles, making trucks like the Ram 1500 quite desirable. Not just for consumers, but for PSA Group, as well.
The PSA Group has quite a number of brands under its wing. These include Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, and Vauxhall. Although they all offer a number of passenger and commercial vehicles, there’s not one pickup among them. In fact, before the merger, PSA was considering partnering with a Chinese automaker to produce pickups, according to The Truth About Cars. With the merger now complete, PSA can receive engineering assistance and potentially whole platforms from Ram. Or, to compete with mid-size pickups and the upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz, build off the Fiat-based Ram 700. But the PSA Group’s lineup hole would be filled, and Europeans would get something they’re starting to want.
Although a full-size pickup truck might make a lot of sense for Europe at first glance, an American-style pickup has some advantages. For one, the previously-mentioned hauling ability and cargo space. For another, many American truck engines are designed to run on lower-octane fuel. They’re less fuel-efficient, but filling them up won’t cost as much as some might think.
What Could Happen
At the moment, importing an American pickup into Europe requires paying importers to modify the truck to meet EU regulations. Not to mention the import taxes. But the FCA-PSA merger offers an alternative.
Ram trucks could be made EU-legal from the beginning. There could even be a European range similar to the one in the US. For utility and budget-focused buyers, there’s the Ram 1500 Classic; for luxury, up-scale trims like the Ram 1500 Limited. And if such trucks were designed to be EU-compliant from the factory, it would lower costs for European customers. But American truck buyers would also benefit from the FCA-PSA technology sharing.
Right now, the only mid-size pickup FCA offers is the Jeep Gladiator. There is the European-market Fiat Fullback, but that’s based on a Mitsubishi platform. But if FCA-PSA gets serious about offering mid-size trucks, the next-gen one could be designed (for cheaper) in-house. And theoretically, to maximize the investment, it could be offered in the US.
Furthermore, if FCA-PSA wanted to offer certain engines in Europe, the company would have to make sure they were Euro-emission-compliant. EU emissions regulations are tougher than the US regulations. So, the American version of the Euro engine would probably be cleaner than what is offered now.
In addition, Peugeot has stated that it wants to offer 40 electric models by 2025. Can you say ‘Ram electric pickup’? Something to rival the electric F-150, or an off-road version competing with Bollinger or Rivian?
Right now, the FCA-PSA merger is still in its early days. And any speculation about future vehicle plans is going to be just that: speculation. But the possibilities the FCA-PSA merger could mean for European and American pickups are certainly exciting to think about.