It took the Italians seemingly countless attempts to bring Alfa Romeo back to the United States, and now that we’ve lived with one for nearly 40,000 miles, we have to wonder if maybe they should have taken more time.
Like Alfa Romeo, French automaker Peugeot pulled out of the U.S. in the 1990s after years of disappointing sales and quality woes. So when parent company PSA Group recently announced its ambitious plan to reintroduce Peugeot to America, it sounded a lot like Alfa’s many promises to return—more than a little incroyable.
After all, before that news, Peugeot’s place on the list of dead-to-us nameplates seemed to be permanent, cemented between Opel and Pontiac. But PSA says its goal is to have new Peugeots on our streets by 2023 in numbers well beyond those the brand struggled to sell before surrendering our market almost 28 years ago.
So why the return? PSA’s energetic boss, Carlos Tavares, is much of the reason. The former Renault and Nissan executive was installed as CEO in 2014 and launched what the group calls its “push to pass” strategy: PSA intends to introduce a wave of new products and electrified powertrains while also targeting a 50 percent increase in sales outside its European homeland by 2021. PSA is currently the world’s ninth-biggest automaker, between Fiat Chrysler and Suzuki, but Tavares believes it will need new territories—namely the U.S. and Canada—to grow beyond the 3.9 million cars it sold last year. After dropping hints about a U.S. return for several years, PSA confirmed that it would be back by 2026, more recently cutting that deadline to 2023.