NEW YORK: More than four decades after the eccentric yet iconic French automotive brand ceased operations in North America, plans are afoot to bring not only Citroën but Peugeot and the new luxury DS brands back to the United States.
The new venture is part of a hugely ambitious global strategy called "Push to Pass" that has already helped the brands' parent company PSA, come back from the brink, turn a profit and find the stability needed to "get back in the race."
According to company chairman Carlos Tavares, who unveiled the plans at length on Tuesday, the overarching aim is to be at the cutting edge of mobility, anticipating the changing needs of consumers and in doing so secure long-term growth.
Push to pass is a first step towards becoming "a great global carmaker with cutting-edge efficiency and the preferred mobility provider worldwide for lifetime customer relationship," said Tavares.
This will involve what the company, which on Tuesday also officially rebranded itself as PSA Groupe, calls a model and technology "blitz."
A new car will come every year with a focus on hybrids (eight new models) and plug-in electric vehicles (four in the pipeline) and there is even a 1-tonne pickup in development.
"We will launch a global product and technology offensive," explained Tavares, "We are ready to shift paradigms by anticipating changes in car usage patterns. Our digital transformation will make the PSA Group a company connected to its customers."
However, for the US where the brands will be starting essentially from scratch — Peugeot pulled out of the country in 1991 and DS models have never been offered in the territory — the approach will be much more cautious and measured.
PSA intends to reintroduce itself in three stages, starting as a ride sharing company and then progressing to providing vehicles for the service and eventually offering models for sale to the public.
The company is taking a long-term view and its plans won't get into gear until 2017.
As for the models it feels are best suited for US consumers, the company is yet to confirm but it is understood the luxury DS cars that compete alongside similar-sized Audis and Volkswagens in Europe and China would have the biggest appeal.