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Peugeot eyes 15 states for initial U.S. return

by Ronan Glon

Not every American will have the chance to buy a Peugeot.

Peugeot's North American comeback is beginning to take shape. The Paris-based firm has singled out the 15 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces it will focus on when it resumes car sales on this side of the pond.

Executives sought states where motorists are open to the idea of buying an imported car. Larry Dominique, the CEO of PSA Group North America, singled out California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Arizona, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland. He didn't reveal the 15th state, according to Automotive News.

The aforementioned states represent 62 percent of new car sales in America. The brand's Canadian expansion will focus on British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, four provinces which account for 87 percent of new car sales in Canada.

"Those states are of the most interest to me at this point in time because they're high volume and import receptive," Dominique explained during a press conference. His comments suggest Americans living in Utah or Louisiana won't have the chance to buy a new Peugeot until later in the 2020s.

As we've previously reported, PSA will kick off its North American offensive in the coming months by introducing a car-sharing service named Free2Move. The service will initially offer vehicles made by a company outside of the group because most of the cars in PSA's current portfolio don't comply with American norms. The exception to the rule is the Insignia, which we know as the Regal. Opel designed it and builds it for Buick, but we imagine General Motors would go to great lengths to avoid seeing the car in its backyard.

PSA will gradually inject its own cars into the car-sharing service. It's too early to tell which models we'll see. PSA owns Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall. Then, around 2026, the group will resume selling cars to private motorists. Dominique confirmed his team is looking at alternative ways of selling cars, likely through online retailers, so don't expect to see an immense dealer network take shape across the country in the coming years.

Note: Peugeot 3008 pictured. Photography by Ronan Glon.