PSA selects Peugeot for U.S. return as rides record profit

Images of Peugeot 308

PSA Group’s Peugeot lineup will lead a comeback to the United States after an absence of nearly three decades, as the French automaker seeks to expand beyond Europe.

Paris-based PSA is also going to launch the Citroen brand in India and revive Opel sales in Russia as it looks for a 50 percent group sales boost outside its home region by 2021.

Europe now represents for 80 percent of PSA’s worldwide vehicle sales after it bought General Motors’ Opel-Vauxhall division in 2017.

The automaker raised its medium-term profitability outlook on Tuesday after publishing record sales and revenues for last year. But the guidance and revenue couldn’t satisfy some investors, sending its shares lower.

Under Chief Executive Carlos Tavares, PSA has started a long-awaited return to North America – after an absence of nearly three decades – by deploying its car-sharing operations in Seattle and Washington D.C.

The renewed U.S. sales push will be provided by PSA plants in Europe and China, leaving it unsafe to any new tariffs on imported vehicles, Tavares stated. Washington is in talks with Beijing and Brussels on new trade deals and has warned to slap duties on European cars.

“I’m going to wait for the current negotiations to give us more visibility on the tariffs,” Tavares stated.

Instead of rebuilding a traditional dealer network from start, the group has identified a “creative and disruptive way to distribute our cars”, Tavares added, without describing further.

Opel’s comeback to Russia may consist some manufacturing at the PSA Kaluga plant, southwest of Moscow, the group stated.

Strong sales of the Peugeot 3008 and 5008 SUV models and the purchase of Opel-Vauxhall have helped construct on Paris-based PSA’s steady recovery from near-bankruptcy in 2013-14.

Sales increased 19 percent in 2018 from 2017 to a record 74.03 billion euros.

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