The Peugeot model lineup

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Introduction: Peugeot's return to the United States

Peugeot RCZ
Peugeot RCZ. Photo © Peugeot

French automaker Peugeot is contemplating a return to the US. Peugeot left the American market in 1991; their cars were handsome and handled well, though they had some deficiencies… like their tendency to break on a regular basis.

If Peugeot were to return to the United States, we probably wouldn’t see their cars here for some time—maybe a decade or more. Pug’s plan is to partner with the car service that runs Blue-Indy in Indianapolis in order to learn more about the tastes and preferences of American drivers. They would have to re-engineer their cars in order to meet American crash and emissions standards, but there’s plenty of time to do that.

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at Peugeot’s current offerings in Europe. While we probably won’t see these exact cars in the US, there’s a good chance their successors might make it.

START: Peugeot 108

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Peugeot 108

Peugeot 108
Peugeot 108. Photo: Peugeot UK

Peugeot’s 108 is considered a “city car” and competes with vehicles like the Volkswagen Up! and the Toyota Aygo. Never heard of these cars? That’s because they’re considered too small for the American market. With slow sales of microcars like the Smart ForTwo and Scion iQ, it’s unlikely that Peugeot would bring the 108 to the United States.

NEXT: Peugeot 208  

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Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208
Peugeot 208. Photo: Peugeot UK

This is likely the smallest Peugeot we’d see in the United States. The 208 competes against cars like the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and the upcoming Mazda 2 (here now as the Scion iA). The current engine lineup is a bit small for the US market—the largest engine on offer is a 1.6 liter, and an automatic transmission is only offered with the 1.2—but Peugeot offers a hot-rod model known as the GTi, which could be a rival for the Ford Fiesta ST.

NEXT: Peugeot 2008

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Peugeot 2008

Peugeot 2008
Peugeot 2008. Photo: Peugeot

Peugeot uses four-digit model names for (most of) its SUVs and crossovers, and the 2008 is the smallest; in Europe it competes against the Nissan Juke. Here in the States, small crossovers like the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade have been gaining a foothold, though with gas prices dropping, it remains to be seen whether that segment will continue to grow. As with the 208 on which it is based, the 2008 uses small gas engines and diesels, so any US-bound version would need new powerplants.

NEXT: Peugeot 308

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Peugeot 308

Peugeot 308
Peugeot 308. Photo © Peugeot

The 308 is the competitor for the Volkswagen Golf, the best-selling car in Europe, so it’s a critical vehicle for the Old World. Here in the States, compact cars are growing in popularity, though we still have a preference for sedans like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. That said, the 308 could be a hit with younger buyers, who prefer hatchbacks.

NEXT: Peugeot 3008

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Peugeot 3008

Peugeot 3008
Peugeot 3008. Photo © Peugeot

Here’s a vehicle that could be a hot seller in the United States. The 3008 competes against vehicles like the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4, which are very popular here in the States. European journalists praise the 3008 for its spacious interior, though they are a bit put off by the oddball styling.

NEXT: Peugeot 508

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Peugeot 508

Peugeot 508
Peugeot 508. Photo © Peugeot

If Peugeot comes to the US, the 508 could be a critical car for them. Despite the growing popularity of smaller cars and SUVs, mid-size sedans are still hot sellers, and the 508 would be competing against well-established players like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Volkswagen Passat. The 508 is spacious and stylish, but the conservative buyers who often gravitate towards mid-size sedans might not take to an unproven brand.

NEXT: Peugeot 5008

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Peugeot 5008

Peugeot 5008
Peugeot 5008. Photo © Peugeot

The 5008 is sort of a mini-minivan, rather like the Mazda5—a car that has not been a strong seller in the US. The unusual styling doesn’t do it any favors, either. If Peugeot is planning a future version that looks more like a traditional SUV, they might do well, but if the form factor is going to be the same, Peugeot would be better off leaving the 5008 home in France.

NEXT: Peugeot Bipper Teepee

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Peugeot Bipper Teepee

Peugeot Bipper Teepee
Peugeot Bipper Teepee. Photo © Peugeot

The Bipper (see later slide) is Peugeot’s smallest cargo van, and as with their other vans, Pug makes a passenger version called the Bipper Teepee (let’s hope that sounds better in French than it does in English). While I don’t think the cargo Bipper has much of a future in the US, the passenger version might do well on novelty value. I’m thinking it would be a good rival to the Kia Soul.

NEXT: Peugeot Ion

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Peugeot Ion

Peugeot Ion
Peugeot Ion. Photo © Peugeot

Here’s another Peugeot that might look familiar: The Ion is a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car. Small city cars like this make sense in Europe, but the i-MiEV has been a slower seller in the United States, and it’s unlikely that a Peugeot version would do any better. 

NEXT: Peugeot Partner Teepee

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Peugeot Partner Teepee

Peugeot Partner Teepee
Peugeot Partner Teepee. Photo © Peugeot

This is a passenger version of Fiat’s small van, the Partner, and if it looks familiar, that’s because it’s a rebadged Fiat—same as the Ram Promaster City. The Promaster City is offered in a passenger version, as is its chief rival, the Ford Transit Connect, so if Peugeot decides to get into the van business in the US, it would make sense to bring this vehicle to our shores. 

NEXT: Peugeot RCZ

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Peugeot RCZ

Peugeot RCZ
Peugeot RCZ. Photo © Peugeot

Now here’s a Peugeot I would definitely like to see in the US! The RCZ is a rival to the Audi TT, and like its German competitor it has head-turning styling and good on-road responses—though unlike the TT it uses front-wheel-drive, not all-wheel-drive. Peugoet offers the RCZ with a 1.6 liter engine that can be tuned for 156, 197 or 266 horsepower. Pug would want a halo car to draw attention to the brand, and the RCZ would certainly do a good job of that.

NEXT: Peugeot Bipper

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Peugeot Bipper

Peugeot Bipper
Peugeot Bipper. Photo © Peugeot

European businesses rely on vans based off of small car platforms, though such vans are all but unheard of in the States—in fact we’re just getting our first taste of Euro-format medium-sized vans in the form of the Nissan NV200, Ford Transit Connect, and Ram Promaster City. So it’s unlikely that the Bipper would come here (and if it does, I hope they change the name). The Bipper was developed in conjunction with Fiat, who also developed the big Promaster van. Both vehicles have headlights mounted way above the bumpers to protect them against fender-benders.

NEXT: Peugeot Boxer

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Peugeot Boxer

Peugeot Boxer
Peugeot Boxer. Photo © Peugeot

If the Boxer looks familiar, that’s because it’s already on the road in the United States in the guise of the Ram Promaster. Like Peugeot’s smaller Bipper, the Boxer was developed in conjunction with Fiat; like the Promaster, it’s a rebadged version of the Fiat Ducato. Would Peugeot bring the Boxer to the US? It seems like a sensible move, but if they are concerned with establishing a brand image, they might shy away from commercial vehicles for their first few years in the States.

NEXT: Peugeot Expert

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Peugeot Expert

Peugeot Expert
Peugeot Expert. Photo © Peugeot

The Expert is Peugeot’s mid-size cargo van, another type of vehicle that is popular in Europe but not seen often here in the States. Chrysler used to own the market with the Ram C/V Tradesman, a cargo version of Chrysler’s minivan that has ceased production (it’s been replaced by the smaller Promaster City). But Mercedes has just opened this market up again with the Metris, and if that van does well, a US-compliant version could be a smart strategic move for Peugeot.

NEXT: Peugeot Partner

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Peugeot Partner

Peugeot Partner
Peugeot Partner. Photo © Peugeot

In Europe, the Partner competes with small vans like the Fiat Doblo—a vehicle America is just getting to know in the form of its American cousin, the Ram Promaster City. These small vans are new to the US, but are proving popular; rivals include the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200, and a rebadged version of the Nissan called the Chevrolet City Express. By the time Peugeot gets to the US, this could be a well-established market, and Peugeot would be smart to get a piece of the action.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING: Pegueot 108