A few weeks ago we reported for a second time in under a year on the return of PSA Group and its Peugeot brand to North America. The company is aiming to be back on our soil by 2026.
There are those who remain skeptical of the prospects of such a plan coming to pass, but the French automotive group appears serious about its intentions. One big question that has yet to answered, of course, is what kind of network will assure the distribution of the group’s products on this side of the Atlantic?
We’ve come to the conclusion that this will likely take the form of partnership with an automotive group already established on the North American continent. It seems the only logical solution. That said, a lot has to happen before such a partnership can come to pass.
And in the meantime, the rumour mill churns out its goodies.
One particular bit of speculation has been floating around regularly over the past few weeks, which concerns a possible marriage between the PSA (Peugeot Société Anonyme) and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) groups. It’s clear that such a partnership could benefit each part equally. PSA would benefit from FCA’s North American distribution network, while the FCA Group could use the French group’s product line to help it meet environmental standards and benefit hugely from the electric-mobility technologies that PSA’s automakers have developed.
Recall that in 2014, then-FCA boss Sergio Marchionne had talked openly about the possibility of partnering with another big industry player. Rumours had variously sent FCA into the arms of General Motors, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Chinese giant Great Wall. Nothing came of those, obviously, but that doesn’t mean the idea is dead.
The question of a marriage with another firm was put by French daily Les Échos to Robert Peugeot, member of the celebrated family that owns 14% of the PSA Group (the French government holds another 14%, as does Chinese company Dongfeng). He said that the group was open to the idea of an alliance:
“We supported the Opel project from the very start. If another opportunity presents itself, you won’t see us put the brakes on. Carlos [Tavares, CEO of PSA Group] knows that”.
- Robert Peugeot
Regarding FCA specifically, Robert Peugeot said only that “with them, as with others, the planets could align”.
Meanwhile, the Jaguar-Land Rover Group has also surfaced in recent weeks in connection with the PSA Group.
It seems to be understood all around that for Peugeot to make a successful re-entry into North America, it will need a partner.
In our view, that means it’s only a matter of time before it finds the right dance partner.