Peugeot-Citroen announces a huge model offensive, and plan to return to the U.S.

Peugeot 308 GTi
PSA Group (formerly known as PSA Peugeot-Citroën) has detailed an ambitious five-year product plan called Push to Pass, created to expand its presence outside of Europe — and to boost its profit margins.

The group’s unprecedented model offensive calls for the launch of one new car per year, per brand, and per region (for the regions it operates in). While specific details are being kept under wraps, the company is working to develop no less than 26 new passenger cars and eight new commercial vehicles. As we recently reported, one of the new models is a midsize, body-on-frame pickup truck that could borrow the bulk of its mechanical components from the Toyota parts bin.

PSA is designing a pair of modular platforms that will spawn many of its upcoming models. The platforms will be designed to underpin cars powered by a conventional internal combustion engine, cars fitted with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, and all-electric models. The group promises to launch seven plug-in hybrids and four electric models by 2021. Notably, high-end cars will be offered with an advanced all-wheel-drive system that uses an internal combustion engine to spin one axle and an electric motor to spin the other.

Autonomous cars are part of the Push to Pass plan, too. PSA is a little late to the game, but it plans on making traffic jam assist technology available on its core models starting in 2018. Hands-off technology will arrive in 2020, and eyes-off — where the driver can read a book or watch a movie while the car drives itself — is slated to arrive in 2021. Rival Renault-Nissan recently announced a similar timeframe.

Interestingly, PSA will introduce an over-the-air updating system in 2018 that will automatically download new versions of the infotainment software without requiring any input from the driver. Over-the-air-updates will be expanded beyond the infotainment system to components like the powertrain in 2020. Currently, Tesla is the only major car maker that regularly sends over-the-air updates to its cars.

PSA Group also confirmed rumors of its long-awaited return to the United States. Absent for decades, Peugeot-Citroën will return to our shores as a mobility provider, meaning it will participate in a car-sharing program, as early as next year. The car-sharing program will be a way for PSA to gather data about what American consumers look for in a car, and how they get around. The cars that will participate in the program won’t necessarily be existing members of the Peugeot-Citroën lineup.

The next step will be to introduce Peugeot, Citroën, or DS cars into the car-sharing program to find out how series-produced models fare in the U.S. If everything goes according to plan, PSA will use the data to design U.S.-spec cars. The company’s premium DS brand — which is set to get five new global models by 2021 — is expected to spearhead PSA’s return to the United States.

“We will return to North America because we believe this is a place where we can make significant profit for PSA,” explained company boss Carlos Tavares during the Push to Pass presentation. “We are doing this for the future generations of the company, starting from a very simple point, which is that if you want to be profitable and sustainable, you ought to do business in the three major markets in the world.”

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