PARIS — Stellantis has halted a plan to bring back the Peugeot brand to the U.S. market, saying it wants to concentrate on “existing brands” in North America after the merger of PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gave the new group a broader geographical reach.
The plan for a comeback for Peugeot, last sold in the U.S. in the early 1990s, was thrown into question after the merger was announced in December 2019. Larry Dominique, the executive who had been leading PSA’s U.S. efforts since 2017, on Friday was named head of North America for the Stellantis brand Alfa Romeo.
A Stellantis spokesman said on Saturday that the “new context of Stellantis with a strong presence on U.S. market leads us to focus on existing brands.”
“This is why Larry will develop Alfa Romeo in this market,” the spokesman added.
Dominique had been preparing for the Peugeot brand’s U.S. comeback for more than four years, with a focus on creating a distribution channel that shunned expensive stores and used technology to offload consumer-facing services such as scheduling vehicle delivery and pickup.
The plan to return to the North American market was in PSA’s Push to Pass midterm plan from 2016, with a 10-year time frame. Early efforts focused on short-term rentals under the Free2Move brand.
CEO Carlos Tavares, now CEO of Stellantis, had sought to decrease PSA’s reliance on the stagnant European market. In recent years that dependence had only increased, with the 2017 acquisition of GM’s Opel/Vauxhall operations and a sharp decline in sales in China in the past few years.
Tavares had prepared for a possible U.S. return by ensuring that newer PSA models were homologated for the market, using expertise developed at Opel’s engineering center in Germany. At least one Peugeot 508 fastback sedan had been spotted in the U.S.