Stellantis Cancels Peugeot Return to the U.S. to Focus on Alfa Romeo

Christian Wardlaw | Mar 08, 2021

Stellantis confirms that the Peugeot brand will not return to the U.S. market. Instead, the automaker formed by the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA says it will focus on improving Alfa Romeo's fortunes in North America.

Alfa Romeo Giulia and Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Peugeot had been plotting a return to the U.S. since 2017. Larry Dominique, the executive responsible for this endeavor, was named Senior Vice President of the Alfa Romeo brand for North America.

A Stellantis spokesperson told Automotive News the automaker intends to "focus on existing brands" in the U.S. market.

In North America, Alfa Romeo sells the Giulia sedan and Stelvio compact SUV. A new Tonale small SUV is likely coming soon, based on a concept vehicle equipped with a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) powertrain.

Groupe PSA's work in the area of electrification may bear some fruit in North America. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares says that by 2025, every vehicle it sells in the U.S. and Europe will offer an electrified powertrain. The automaker is developing a modular electric vehicle platform, similar to Hyundai's new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), and Tavares says it is engineered for use in both regions.

To date, the former FCA organization developed several electrified powertrains. They include eTorque mild hybrid technology for the Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 light-duty pickup and the PHEV powertrain available in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Now, Jeep is rolling out a PHEV version of the Wrangler. The Wrangler 4xe's technology will also be available in the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee, and rumors claim the Jeep Gladiator pickup will also offer the 4xe powertrain.

Tavares says Stellantis will focus on electrification, improving its corporate average fuel economy numbers in the U.S., and software that accepts over-the-air updates to remain current over time. The new Uconnect 5 infotainment system introduced in the 2021 Pacifica minivan is an example.

Still, Stellantis brands such as Dodge remain heavily dependent on gasoline V8 engines and selling nostalgia for the sound and smell of burning rubber. Furthermore, several Chrysler and Dodge models, such as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, are built on a platform that dates to the mid-2000s. 

Tavares suggests that change is coming. "We do not accept to be cornered, we do not accept to be a legacy carmaker, we do not accept to be a dinosaur," Tavares said in an interview with Automotive News.

Stellantis and Automotive News are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on March 8, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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