Long live Chrysler!
Peugeot has not sold new vehicles in the United States for three decades and it never will again. Following the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA to create Stellantis, now the world's fourth-largest automaker, it's been officially decided by CEO Carlos Tavares that Peugeot will remain overseas-only.
Automotive News Europe has learned this decision is final. PSA previously began to seriously explore Peugeot's potential return to the North American market in 2017 when it tipped Larry Dominique to lead those efforts. Last Friday, Dominique was reassigned to lead the Alfa Romeo brand in North America as Stellantis continues to "focus on existing brands."
Dominique did more than just set up a Peugeot office in this continent. He began creating an advanced distribution network that avoided the traditional (and expensive) dealership model by instead focusing on direct consumer services, such as pick-up and delivery. As previously reported, Stellantis believes it better to reinvigorate the struggling Chrysler brand instead of bringing Peugeot stateside.
The decision makes complete sense because Americans are very familiar with and trust the Chrysler brand. Peugeot, however, has a mixed history mainly due to reliability issues. The two brands also appeal to a slightly older and more affluent customer base. Internal competition is the last thing Tavares wants but it's still possible that future Chryslers could be heavily or lightly reworked Peugeots thanks to platform sharing and other essential hardware.
As for Alfa Romeo, naming Dominique as its new leader appears to be an excellent call. The Italian brand has struggled for years and has only seen modest success with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio. Some hope arrived last year when sales increased by 1.6 percent. It's now up to Dominique to build upon that. A pair of new crossovers that'll debut in the near future should help.
The slow-selling Giulia, unfortunately, may be living on borrowed time. It never achieved the success the company hoped for despite wide media praise, especially of the high-performance Quadrifoglio variant with its Ferrari-derived engine.