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Exclusive: PSA Planning “3-Phase” Return to U.S. Market

U.S. assembly plant a long-term possibility.

by on Apr.07, 2017

PSA's new US chief, Larry Dominique previously served as top US product planner at Nissan.

With the launch of the new Travelcar car-sharing service in Los Angeles, French automaker PSA has made its first tentative step back into the U.S. market since the Peugeot brand pulled up stakes in 1991.

The modest project is part of a “three-phase approach” that will eventually see PSA start selling cars in the United States, Larry Dominique, an auto industry veteran and the new North American head of PSA operations, told, in an exclusive interview.

Beyond the Headlines!

How soon you’ll see any of the PSA brands on dealer lots – indeed, whether the French company will rely on a conventional distribution model in the U.S. – hasn’t been determined yet, Dominique cautioned. With the launch of Travelcar, PSA begins exploring a number of options that could eventually include the establishment of an American manufacturing presence.


PSA Makes Tenuous Return to U.S. After 26-Year Absence

French maker intros L.A. carsharing service; aims to start selling Peugeots, Citroens again.

by on Apr.06, 2017

Free2Move gives PSA an opportunity to start building a base in the U.S. before launching sales.

You can’t buy a Peugeot or Citroen in the U.S. But you might soon be able to drive one. PSA, the parent of those two French brands, has launched a new car-sharing service in Los Angeles, called Free2Move, that it’s billing as its “first step” for what may soon become a return to the American market.

PSA was one of a number of European brands that left the U.S. in the 1990s, and the company has openly regretted that decision ever since, frequently suggesting it would make a return. Now, the groundwork is being laid with the Free2Move project, which started up this week at LAX, Tinseltown’s crowded airport.

Breaking News!

Longer-term, said PSA Group in a statement, the goal is “to develop mobility solutions with PSA Group’s cars, before marketing vehicles directly in North America.” No timetable for the next phase of the project has been released.


Wrapping Up Opel Sale Could Take GM Years to Complete

GM and Opel’s new parent, Peugeot, might actually expand ties.

by on Mar.08, 2017

Opel's past and present debut together: the new Crossland X and the made-over Insignia.

When General Motors and PSA announced terms for the sale of the long-troubled Opel earlier this week, they said they expect to complete the deal later this year.

From a legal standpoint, barring some last-minute regulatory challenges, that’s likely to happen. But while the hand-off will be formalized, on paper, the long ties between GM and Opel will likely continue well into the coming decade.

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A full separation “is going to be (over an) extended period of time,” GM President Dan Ammann told during a conversation at the Geneva Motor Show.


French Automaker Peugeot Receives Chinese Bailout

Family reduces stake to secure Dongfeng’s investment.

by on Feb.19, 2014

Peugeot and Dongfeng inked a $1.1 billion deal giving the French automaker a much-needed infusion of cash.

Struggling French automaker Peugeot is receiving a helping hand from halfway around the world with Chinese investor Dongfeng investing 800 million Euros, or $1.1 billion, in the European firm.

It’s a critical step for PSA Peugeot Citroen, which has been facing increasing problems – and mounting losses – in the face of Europe’s worst economic crisis in decades. There have been concerns Peugeot might not be able to survive without outside help, a situation that has led the heirs to the Peugeot family to sharply reduce their stake in the maker in return for Dongfeng’s help.

No Games!

In turn, Dongfeng gets to bolster its position in its home market – now the largest automotive market in the world – gain access to much-needed technology, and potentially put it in a position where it could expand beyond China’s borders. A number of Chinese makers have been hoping to expand into Europe and North America but so far have faced numerous obstacles along the way. (more…)

GM Sells Stake in Peugeot

Move follows decision to scale back – but continue alliance.

by on Dec.12, 2013

Peugeot and GM maintain a more distant relationship than originally planned.

Hours after announcing it would scale back – but continue – its alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen, General Motors revealed it was selling off its 7% stake in the troubled French automaker.

Without those economic ties, industry observers say there appears to be even less of a reason for the two manufacturers to continue any long-term affiliation beyond the two product sharing deals and a few smaller arrangements they currently plan to move ahead with.

Your Automotive Resource!

GM initially purchased its stake in Peugeot last year at a time when the two makers expected they could achieve $2 billion in savings by working together.  Both companies have been losing billions in Europe in recent years. But since initially inking their alliance both have shifted strategies, raising ongoing questions about whether they could meet their original goals.


New French Pres. Rips Peugeot Bailout Plan

Potential problem for partner GM?

by on Jul.16, 2012

New French Pres. Hollande says "Non!" to Peugeot's plan to close an excess plant.

French President Francois Hollande wasted no time ripping into PSA Peugot Citroen’s plans to close a major assembly plant north of Paris as part of a turnaround plan expected to be used in seeking a government bailout of the ailing automaker.

The new leader, who took the Socialist Party back into power, took a distinctly different position from industry analysts and press pundits.  With rare exception, they had immediately hailed Peugot’s announcement last week as the long-awaited start of the restructuring of the European auto industry.

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The Continent has seen a four-year slide in automotive sales and though there is near universal agreement that Europe has far too much production capacity manufacturers have, until now, been unwilling to make the first cuts.


BMW, Peugeot Citroën Engine Sharing to Continue

Further development of 4-cylinder gasoline engines is agreed.

by on Feb.05, 2010

Philippe Varin, PSA Peugeot Citroën, sitting left, and Norbert Reithofer, BMW AG, sitting right.

The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën will continue their engine sharing  that dates back to the reintroduction of the Mini brand in 2002.

A revised  agreement was signed by Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën, in Paris.

The two companies will develop the next generation 4-cylinder gasoline engine, which will meet stringent EU 6 requirements, which take effect in 2014, and strictly limit CO2, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Currently, the engine is being used in several Mini models, the Peugeot 207 and 308, as well as Citroën’s C3 Picasso.

The existing family of 1.6 – liter turbocharged petrol engines, with fully variable valve timing and direct fuel injection have power outputs ranging from 55 kW (75 hp) to 128 kW (175 hp).

The cars they are used in have been favorably reviewed, and there does not appear to be any negative effects on the brands, which could come from the use of a common engine.


There is a widespread assumption in the industry that engine technology is best held closely at individual makers. That assumption is increasingly pushed aside, though, as development costs skyrocket due to emissions and efficiency demands on what is an automobile’s single most expensive component.

Still, preserving brand integrity in a world of shared pieces is a delicate balancing act.   (more…)

Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Tennis, Target, travel, Taschen, TV and tumultuous times.

by on Feb.01, 2010


Do logos on a tennis court add up to more sales on the dealer lot for Kia?

For the ninth year, Kia is a major sponsor of the Australian Open, the first of four Grand Slam events in professional tennis.  This sponsorship makes Kia the number one automotive sponsor and vehicle supplier of international and championship events for both men and women. The brand’s contract runs through the 2013 tournament.

Kia’s marketing aspirations are simple – if daunting: become one of the world’s premier automotive brands in the 172 nations where it competes. That is why the Kia brand is focused on international events with wide appeal like tennis and the upcoming World Cup. It is taking tennis, a popular nationalistic sport directly to the nations, many of which are the homes professional tennis players.  It is a unique automotive international marketing event for a brand, in my opinion.

As the major sponsor of the Australian Open – both men’s and women’s singles, a first — gets a plethora (a wonderful Cosselian word) of promotional goodies from signs everywhere to ads to television appearances to providing courtesy vehicles.

The biggest bang for the buck, er… wack for the Won … for the Korean carmaker are the well-placed Kia logo signs everywhere on the show courts which means strong visibility during every televised broadcast of any match or game.

During the 2009 championship, 6,075 hours (yes, hours) of matches were broadcast and streamed worldwide.  There’s an amazing ROI in the numbers: The Kia logos were seen 4,192 of those hours last year with a media value estimated at $524 million (US dollars, here, not Won).  Media mavens I spoke to have said this year could be even bigger in terms of dollar value as more hours are being broadcast worldwide.

Your Inside Connection!

Adding to the presence of Kia is the company’s official ambassador, Rafael Nadal, last year’s men’s singles champion, who had to retire with a knee injury during the quarter finals to Andy Murray.


Fiat Forecasting 20% Drop in Global Sales

Italian maker also rumored in talks with France’s PSA.

by on Jan.22, 2009

Fiat: Falling Flat, Even as it Explores a Second Alliance with PSA?

Fiat: Falling Flat, Even as it Explores a Second Alliance with PSA?

The sky is falling, the sky is falling. How do you say that in Italian? The folks at Chrysler might want to learn, and fast, considering the news out of Turin, this evening.

Chrysler is betting a lot, perhaps its entire future, on the global alliance it announced, earlier this week, with Fiat s.P.a., but after posting one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the industry, earlier this decade, things are suddenly looking a little problematic for the Italian automaker.

The Fiat Group is revealing that its net quarterly profit dropped from 597 million euros to 180 million euros during the last quarter of 2008. The Fiat car division’s revenues dropped 19 per cent over Q4. For the Fiat brand, as well as Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati, revenues during October, November and December were 6.3 billion euros or 8.1 billion dollars, compared with 7.6 billion euros for the fourth quarter of 2007. The car division’s profits fell to 202 million euros, a drop of 44 per cent.

Though there was a bit less of a line waiting for those high-demand Ferrari sports cars, Fiat’s uber-marque continued to set records, but Alfa Romeo, the Fiat brand and Lancia saw sales slip considerably.

The forecast for 2009 is also disturbing, as Fiat expects to see a drop in worldwide sales of 20 percent, with the first quarter likely to be especially difficult. On the Milan stock exchange, after Fiat shares lost 9 per cent, following the announcement, leading to a temporary halt in trading.

Ironically, while Chrysler is struggling to get the U.S. government to continue propping it up, the Italian government seems ready to launch its own bailout program, even though all signs indicate Fiat would be able to make it through a moderately protracted global recession – and come to the aid of its new U.S. partner.

But the trans-Atlantic partnership may be just the beginning of a broader alliance strategy for Fiat, with the Italian media now reporting a second possible alliance, this one teaming Fiat and the French PSA Peugeot Citroën.