The 5 Best Cars for FCA to Bring Over from Europe in the Groupe PSA Merger
French-built cars will roam American roads in the 2020s. The question is, which ones should?
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France's Groupe PSA are on course for a merger that's set to form the world's fourth-largest automaker and potentially open the doors for some of PSA's exotic-to-us European fare to be sold in America. Given that PSA has a healthy portfolio including Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall, there's no shortage of Euro exclusives to daydream about making it over here.
So in that spirit, here are the the five PSA vehicles we could honestly see in the United States as a result of the merger, products that could be rebadged under Dodge, Chrysler, and even Ram to serve FCA's needs and those of American buyers without stepping on any valuable toes. All five are capable of filling holes in those domestic brand lineups—some just might be snugger fits than others.
Redesigned in 2016, Groupe PSA's flagship van goes by many aliases, from Citroën Jumpy to Peugeot Expert and even Toyota ProAce depending on the market. But stick a Ram ProMaster badge on this van and you've got a great replacement for the current small city version based on the dated Fiat Ducato, sold abroad since 2006. As vans tend to have longer product cycles, the Jumpy's 2016 launch makes it pretty fresh comparatively and could ensure the Ram ProMaster's competitiveness well into the mid-2020s.
DS 3 Crossback
It's not exciting fare, but FCA lacks a mainstream premium subcompact CUV offering, and the new DS 3 Crossback could make a pretty compelling addition to the Chrysler's threadbare lineup with a few design tweaks. Whatever your feelings about Chrysler riding back to relevance in the cargo hold of a tiny crossover, it's better than the current slow fade to black we're dealing with. An electric variant is on the way too, which could reduce FCA's reliance on Tesla for emissions credits to counteract selling all those Jeep Wranglers and Hellcats.
Refreshed only last year, the Peugeot 508 is offered in enough body styles and with enough powertrain configurations that there'll surely be a version that appeals to American buyers. There are short-wheelbase liftbacks, long-wheelbase models with traditional trunks (for China), and even station wagons, which we're happy to report will once again be preferred mode of transport in the late 2030s.
Powertrain options primarily consist of 1.6- to 2.0-liter gas and diesel engines combined with an eight-speed Aisin automatic transmission, though a 1.5-liter diesel with a six-speed manual is also available for maximum quirk factor. There's a plug-in hybrid variant on the way, and we hope it'll resemble the 508 Sport Engineered Concept shown at this year's Geneva Motor Show with 395 horsepower and AWD.
With Peugeot re-entering the U.S. market early next decade, the French carmaker could elect to hawk the 508 itself, though whatever post-merger FCA-PSA calls itself could hypothetically sell it here as a captive import first.
FCA already has a midsize vehicle that blurs the line between minivan and crossover in the Dodge Journey, but seeing as the Journey is over a decade old and uses a four-speed slushbox almost three times its own age, it's past due for a replacement. Peugeot's 5008 would make a solid substitute, retaining the Journey's optional third row and offering a similar, will-this-thing-ever-hit-highway-speeds driving experience. We also think the similarly sized Vauxhall Grandland X would work in the United States, but it's a much less interesting way to round off this list than...
Peugeot 308 GTI
The second-gen 308 GTI you see before you is already a thing of the past, but French media squawks that a new, third-gen 308 is coming, with GT and GTI variants in tow. Both will reportedly be plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) with 220-horsepower drivetrains on the front axle, though the GTI will reportedly also feature a rear-axle motor for a maximum output of 300 horsepower. As hybrids, they'd be on the piggy side compared to rivals like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R, but their Gallic mystique and fuel efficiency could lure hot-hatch buyers back from the Deutsch side.
The new Peugeot 308 will supposedly be revealed next March at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, which suddenly holds new relevance for stateside enthusiasts.