4828 Stellantis CEO to U.S. dealers: ‘I love you'

Stellantis CEO to U.S. dealers: ‘I love you’

One question that has hung over the merger is whether Peugeot would return to the U.S., a market it abandoned in 1991. Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato told British journalists last week that the idea “is still on the table” but that the company will have to adapt and “reconsider all elements” of its strategy after the merger.

Tavares said the “FCA part of the family” has been doing a stellar job in the U.S. He believes it makes more sense to focus on the existing American brands than to spend too much capital on a new venture.

“But that does not mean that we are not going to use all of the lessons and the studies we have done for that specific project,” Tavares said. “It’s still TBD. We’ll see what the executive committee thinks about it.”

PSA’s North American boss, Larry Dominique, has been preparing for a potential PSA return to the U.S. for several years, with a focus on creating a distribution channel that shuns expensive stores and emphasizes using technology to offload some consumer-facing services such as scheduling vehicle delivery and pickup.

Tavares said Dominique’s efforts to create an asset-light network for Peugeot have been helpful and that the vision has appealed to dealers who have heard it.

“This is something that, most probably, we are going to use, not specifically in the U.S. market, but maybe in another region of the world,” Tavares said. “But I think that innovative thinking of that project has been very helpful.”

Just ahead of the merger last week, Dominique said planning for Peugeot’s return to the U.S. had not changed.

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“We are continuing all of our plans related to distribution and vehicle development,” Dominique said. But he added: “Any decisions in context of Stellantis will be made after the merger is completed.”

When Tavares was asked whether Stellantis might sell Peugeot models through FCA’s existing dealer network or through its own stores, he said the company has a “deep respect for the fantastic brand portfolio that we have.”

Tavares said each of Stellantis’ brands has a “very exciting history, and you can build a very visionary future for those brands.”

“It’s quite clear that there is no brand in that 14-brand portfolio for which we could not say, ‘Well, we could do this and do that,’ ” Tavares said.

He continued, adding that the automaker is “not short of ideas, and we are not short of imagination. As you know well: Planning is 10 percent; execution is 90 percent.”

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