Stellantis has the perfect European car to tweak for the US market.
Following the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe PSA, rumors swirled that the newly-formed Stellantis could bring French brand Peugeot to the United States. Those rumors have since been quashed, which makes the reveal of the new Peugeot 308 all the more painful. Like most Peugeot hatchbacks, the 308 looks extremely handsome. Too bad American consumers treat handsome hatchbacks like poison.
The 308 acts as the new "face of Peugeot," wearing the snazzy new company badge. Though there is absolutely no chance of the 308 coming to America wearing the lion logo, we'd like to hold out hope of a future Stellantis product using a small portion of Peugeot's fabulous design and engineering.
We have several ideas for how Stelantis could bring the 308 stateside in some capacity. FCA's American brands have been craving a fuel-efficient entry-level product since the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 went out of production several years ago. We'd love to see Dodge pull the Neon nameplate out of retirement to slap on a rebadged 308. For this strategy to succeed, Dodge would likely need to put in some engineering work to turn the 308 into a sedan; because, as we mentioned, American buyers hate hatchbacks.
The revived Neon would mostly borrow the 308's styling and its premium interior, but we'd leave the 1.2-liter three-cylinder and 1.5-liter four-cylinder diesel engines for the European market. Instead, the 308's plug-in hybrid options would be a perfect fit for an entry-level Neon.
The 308 PHEV uses the same 1.5-liter three-cylinder found in the standard model, producing either 150 or 180 horsepower on its own. With the 12.4-kWh battery pack and electric motor, the PHEV drivetrain develops 180 combined hp in the base guise or 225 hp in the more powerful model. In either configuration, the 308 can travel 37 miles on electric power along (on the WLTP cycle).
Even if Dodge isn't gutsy enough to sell the 308 as a revived Neon, we see other applications for this drivetrain. Fiat is in desperate need of a new product after its entire lineup was cut down to only the 2021 Fiat 500X. We think the 308 could be the perfect product to keep Fiat alive in the US market.