Peugeot Still Targeting 2023 For US Return Despite Coronavirus

In 2016, Peugeot announced its return to North America, setting the deadline to do so a decade later. The French automaker then presented its roadmap to return to the United States, accelerating those plans in April 2019 with the hope of returning to the market in 2023 instead of 2026. That remains the plan, according to a new report from The Detroit office, even as the coronavirus pandemic has put the situation to the test.

According to the publication, PSA North America President Larry Dominique announced that Peugeot is maintaining its 2023 return date during a keynote address at the Center for Automotive Research’s annual management seminars. Dominique said the automaker is struggling to determine how it wants to sell cars in North America, saying PSA will use franchise dealerships while leaning heavily on online retail. Dominque noted that customer satisfaction with the dealership model was below average as one of the reasons the company is turning to the Internet. Customers want a “simpler and more efficient” car buying process, he added.

PSA’s return to North America comes as the company lets the ink dry as part of a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The deal is expected to close in early 2021. The new company, called Stellantis, will be the world’s fourth-largest automaker with annual deliveries of around 8.7 million vehicles. The total 13 car brands will also continue, which could play a role in how Peugeot sells its cars to customers.

The company’s bypassing the traditional dealer network is no secret. When the automaker announced it would accelerate its comeback plan, we knew it would forgo the traditional dealer network. However, the automaker did not specify what its retail strategy would look like, or how it would allow potential customers to view and try out the vehicles. When the coronavirus pandemic exploded, dealerships closed, many rushed to meet customers online. If consumers are looking for more convenient ways to buy a car, Peugeot’s comeback while fighting traditions could be a winning formula.

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