Peugeot & Citroen begin their (long awaited?) return with car-sharing service

April 7, 2017

In April of last year, PSA Group announced plans to bring Peugeot and Citroen back to the U.S. market, along with the newer, more upscale DS brand. The first step of PSA's grand scheme was to take on car-sharing and ride-sharing giants like Uber and Zipcar.

One year later, PSA has begun putting its plan into action. The company has created a North American division--aptly called PSA North America--and it's launched a pilot of its European car-sharing program called Free2Move, which is operated in partnership with Travelcar.

That may sound like a lot of moving parts--and frankly, it is. However, the gist is pretty simple. 

Free2Move works a bit like RelayRides, which allows individual vehicle owners to rent out their cars to complete strangers in exchange for cash. The difference is, Free2Move doesn't really oversee a network of car owners as RelayRides does. Instead, it gathers info from a wide range of car-sharing companies to give would-be renters the most options and best prices for their short-term rides. (For specifics, check this handy FAQ.)

In other words, PSA North America is focusing on the newer, grayer area of mobility rather than the more conventional selling or leasing cars--at least for the time-being.

Eventually, however, PSA will get to step two of its plan, which will probably look a lot like General Motors' Maven service. If so, PSA will own and operate a fleet of Peugeot, Citroen, DS, and perhaps even Opel vehicles, which Average Joes and Janes can rent for an hour or a day. Hopefully, that will make younger consumers familiar with those brands (which is important, since Peugeot pulled out of the U.S.. in 1991 and Citroen did so much earlier, in 1974).

Once brand awareness reaches a certain point, PSA will likely launch sales in key North American markets. But that's still a long way off.

Free2Move is currently available at the LAX airport in Los Angeles, where vehicle owners can get free parking (as they have with RelayRides in the past) if they're willing to let folks use their vehicles. PSA says that rental rates with Free2Move are about half the price of conventional rental cars. 

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