Peugeots might not come to the US as Chryslers

With Chrysler down to one already-redlined car and one minivan, and Peugeot choosing to sell its cars through existing brands in North America rather than creating a new Peugeot or Citroën line, many believe that Peugeots and DS near-lux cars will be rebadged and modified (depending on the model) as Chryslers in the United States and Canada.

That’s not the only option, though—and don’t immediately think of Dodge. Stellantis has other brands in the United States.

Peugeot 5008

At least one Peugeot is being rebranded as an Alfa Romeo, which gives us a clue: it’s not just the American brands that can carry French-designed cars. With appropriate modifications, the crossovers can be sold as Dodges, Chryslers, or Jeeps, yes, but they can also be sold as Fiats and Alfa Romeos.

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There are Peugeots that would make sense as Chryslers, to be fair. In the United States, it would be foolish to sell, say, the 2021 4008 crossover as a Jeep—especially when Ford is dramatically upping its off-road game. Depending on whether (and how) they re-engine the 4008, it could be a Chrysler or a Dodge (its 300 horsepower is unlikely to be a fit for fire-breathing Dodge). But there are many other cars in the Peugeot lineup.

Any DS that came to North America, for example, would likely end up being sold through Alfa Romeo, since both are meant to be upscale in a way Chrysler has not been for some time. Alfa Romeo dealerships are probably also more wealthy-buyer-friendly than Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealerships. Would this weaken the Alfa Romeo image? If Alfa Romeo had a strong brand image in the eyes of typical Americans, yes; as it stands, the point might be moot.

The typical Peugeot is much smaller than any recent Dodge or Chrysler; but they are right in the sweet spot for American Fiats. The Italian brand is not loved by typical Americans, but it does have high-end showrooms across the country, and is already known for making small cars. The 500L found very few buyers, and the 500X suffered from comparisons to the Jeep Renegade; but Peugeot might be able to offer something Americans like more. Don’t expect the “all 500, all the time” Fiat USA styling to continue if Peugeot brings their cars over; they may well keep the distinctive Peugeot appearance, or choose something in between.

There’s no reason to assume that Chrysler will suddenly become a front for Peugeot, in other words. There will probably be a few C/P cars, but Fiat and Alfa Romeo may get just as many, if not more, French or French-derived cars and crossovers.

David Zatz started what was to become the world’s biggest, most comprehensive Mopar site in 1994 as he pursued a career in organizational research and change. After a chemo-induced break, during which he wrote car books covering Vipers, minivans, and Jeeps, he returned with some friends to create StellPower.com, which is intended to end up as an enduring partnership. Contact him at (973) 925-6058 or check out the new junkyard/slant six book he edited.

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