French automaker returns to US with car-sharing Chevrolets, not Peugeots and Citroëns

October 4, 2018

When French automaker PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroën, returns to the U.S. market after decades away later this month, all will not be as it seems.

PSA has ambitions to become a world leader in car-sharing and will launch a program in Washington, D.C., at the end of October, Reuters reported Wednesday. The catch: all 600 vehicles used in the service will be Chevrolet Equinox and Cruze vehicles.

MORE: GM sells its European Opel division to French automaker PSA

The program will fall under PSA’s Free2Move mobility solutions umbrella, which is a car and bike sharing service currently available in several countries across Europe and even in Seattle as of last year. The app allows you to compare the location, characteristics, operating costs, and more of offerings from other car-sharing providers like Car2Go, Zipcar, and TravelCar.

The D.C. program will be the largest of its kind within Free2Move to have a standalone fleet, and though it may seem odd that PSA chose to use vehicles from a different automaker, getting Peugeots and Citroëns approved for U.S. roads would be costly.

Neither Peugeot nor Citroën has sold a new vehicle in the U.S. since Peugeot departed the market in 1991 after exceptionally slow sales and rising prices from import tariffs. No new French cars have been sold in the U.S. since then—minus a handful of Bugattis—although PSA has signaled its long-term intention to sell its own cars in the U.S. again.

But Louis Chevrolet was from French-speaking Switzerland before he came to the U.S. to start his eponymous automaker, so the bowtie-adorned brand is about as French as any American car company gets.

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