PARIS — French car manufacturer Peugeot is planning a staged return to the U.S. market, initially via a car-sharing program designed to get car shoppers reacquainted with the brand.
The brand is part of the PSA Group that includes Citroen and DS Automobiles, and last sold cars in North America in 1991.
The intention was announced last week, with the company saying that it already has a team in the U.S. analyzing customer and regulatory requirements.
According to PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares, the first stage will be to "start as a mobility operator from 2017."
The company may collaborate with French electric vehicle manufacturer Bollore, which already supplies vehicles for car-sharing programs in several European cities, as wells as for an EV car-sharing operation in Indianapolis.
The next stage will be to develop mobility programs with the company's own models rather than Bollore's, before eventually selling Peugeots conventionally through dealers. Tavares also suggested that PSA could source vehicles locally.
The plan is a part of a 10-year growth program for Peugeot and its sister Citroen and DS brands.
It's not clear whether either of these names will enter the U.S. — Citroen last sold cars here in 1974 while DS Automobiles, which was born out of Citroen, is only two years old and has never been present here.
PSA plans an intensive new model program that will include 121 new-model launches in the next six years, 26 of these being global products that could potentially be retailed in the U.S.
An upscale SUV is said to be among them. Tavares added that PSA "cannot be a global company until we are there," as an explanation for the group's plans to return to the U.S.
Edmunds says: Peugeot will need substantial success with its car-sharing program to get its name known, and to offer cars that consumers want to buy, if it's to make any headway.