CC Newsstand: Peugeot Returning to US – The CC Effect on a Mega Scale

ask Stephanie

The CC Effect™ is sometimes startlingly powerful. On a whim, I reposted an oldie titled “Remember When You Could Buy a French Car In The US?” And this morning I open and see that the top article is “Peugeot brand will lead PSA’s return to US”.  It was well known since 2016 that PSA was coming back to North America, but hadn’t decided with which brand (Citroen, Opel, DS, Peugeot). They did a bit of market research and  surprise…Peugeot had the highest brand awareness of the four in the US. All of sixteen Americans remembered Peugeot!.

I’m kidding. Somewhat. Actually, what they found was that there are over 1500 Peugeots still registered in the US (probably all vintage 404s with a few 403s and 504s). And here’s the kicker: Alabama had the highest concentration! And who did that research?

From the article:

“Even though Peugeot left in 1991 … the awareness of the brand and the opinion of the brand are still strong,” Dominique said. “So, we have a strong starting point with which to start the discussion with consumers.”

And some details about how and when it’s going to happen:

When PSA begins selling its cars in the U.S., it will be via an unconventional path.

“With a greenfield opportunity, we can think about the business in a very different way,” Dominique said. “How can we be more asset-light, how can we be more agile, how can we embrace this new digital economy, while delivering the kind of experiences that consumers expect?”

Last year, PSA said it had narrowed to 15 states and four Canadian provinces its top picks as possible points of entry for sales. Those states have customers who are willing to buy imports and represent 62 percent of the nation’s vehicle sales, PSA said.

“Taking the time to do it the right way — launching the product when you’re ready, building the business and scaling it as you develop success, is the way we want to approach the market,” Dominique said. “That way you don’t make the mistakes a lot of companies do, by rushing in, over-leveraging and then having to push metal, and that’s not a sustainable business.”

PSA is in the process of homologating Peugeots for the U.S. market, which is a multiyear process.

“We have given ourselves a 10-year horizon, starting in 2016, in which to launch retail in North America,” Dominique said. “If we can do it earlier than that, we’ll do it when it’s appropriate.”

This is going to be interesting to watch. Needless to say, the obstacles are huge.What exactly will the unique selling proposition be?

Once upon a time, Peugeots stood for exceptional durability. That’s essentially a non-starter anymore.

I’m struggling to see this work well, but stranger things have happened.