24 Jan 18

PSA goes electric, returns to USA

French car manufacturing group PSA joins competitors in revealing its electrification strategy for the next decade. CEO Carlos Tavares said last week that his company, which owns Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall, will be launching 40 electrified models – i.e. powered by either a hybrid or a fully-electric powertrain – by 2025.

Surprisingly, Tavares also said that PSA would be reconquering North America, a market Citroën left in the 70s due to costly U.S. regulatory issues and that was abandoned by Peugeot in the 90s after the 405 received a less than tepid welcome. He declined to say which brands would venture a Trans-Atlantic expansion, but did however mention that many Opel models will be engineered to be compliant with U.S. regulations.

GM and PSA: imbalanced deal?

Today, Opel (so basically, PSA) still builds Buick-badged derivatives of its Cascada (same model name), Insignia (Regal) and Mokka X (Encore) for GM. Its former parent returns the favour by manufacturing the Chevrolet Bolt-derived Opel Ampera-e, albeit in very limited numbers. PSA allegedly pays such a hefty price for the all-electric hatchback that every sale creates a loss.

PSA is therefore pulling out all the stops to get its first in-house developed EV ready by 2019. The first models to become ‘zero-emission’ are the future Opel Corsa and the next generation of the Peugeot 208, which will share their underpinnings. The first plug-in hybrid of the group will be the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, incidentally, followed by its Opel clone, the Grandland X.

Back to the USA by 2026

As Opel boasts decades of experience with developing and building cars that comply with U.S. regulations, it is only logical that the first PSA model to cross the Atlantic will be created by engineers in Rüsselsheim. Still, it may take 8 more years before the group launches its first America-ready models. First and foremost, PSA wants to gather data on American consumer preferences.

Tavares stressed that PSA plans a phased entry into the U.S., starting with mobility services. This year, the company will launch a car sharing programme in two to three big cities using vehicles from other automakers. By the time it has its own cars ready, PSA will also have new distribution models in place, Automotive News Europe reports.

Yesterday, the French group announced it has chosen Atlanta for its North American headquarters. It will be operational next month. “While the overall business environment, standard of living and university system played an important part in our decision, our unique needs in terms of technology, mobility innovation and car culture ultimately identified Atlanta as our perfect choice”, said Larry Dominique, President of PSA North America.


Authored by: Dieter Quartier