French automaker PSA Group in February announced that its Peugeot brand will return to the United States after a three-decade hiatus, and it's now being reported that the comeback might happen sooner than previously thought.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that PSA now believes it will introduce Peugeot once again to the U.S. market within the next 3-4 years. Previously, PSA targeted a return to the U.S. and North America for Peugeot by 2026.
2017 Peugeot 3008
PSA CEO Carlos Tavares told the newspaper the company is able to accelerate the timeframe due to its acquisition of Opel from General Motors. With its purchase of the former GM brand in 2017, PSA gained plenty of engineers who've worked with developing vehicles for the U.S. market. The current Buick Regal is actually a rebadged Opel Insignia. If the brand returns in three or four years, that pegs the first French cars to arrive in 2022 or 2023.
Peugeot CEO Jean-Phillipe Imparato hinted last month that the brand would focus on the mid-size and compact segments when it does arrive in the U.S. However, Tavares said anything is on the table. The group CEO added that launching with a small number of vehicles would be simpler, but he wants to make sure Peugeot offers plenty of options for different American drivers. Anything Peugeot sells today is under consideration for the brand's launch in the U.S., with the lineup including electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and crossover SUVs.
2019 Peugeot e-208
Tavares also reiterated the automaker has an "innovative" way to distribute cars in North America. The company hasn't ruled out a dealership network, but it appears executives will be focused on a new method we don't know much about. The CEO said it could involve purchasing cars online, which would be complemented by a service of sorts to allow potential buyers to see a car and test drive it beforehand. Tavares is well aware Americans likely won't simply buy a car they see online before spending time with it in-person, though Tesla may disagree.
Whatever the French automaker has planned, it's being meticulous and careful about the U.S. market launch of Peugeot. Tavares said he wants the brand to be profitable from the beginning, so there's plenty of caution when it comes to bringing Peugeot back to America.