PSA Group -- the maker of Peugeots and Citroens -- is taking its first significant step to re-enter the U.S. market by naming former TrueCar and Nissan executive Larry Dominique to spearhead the project.
Dominique, 54, will be senior vice president for PSA North America, in charge of putting the automaker back in the United States for first time since the Peugeot brand exited in 1991.
“This is a market that, as a full-line automaker, you need to be part of,” Dominique told Automotive News via phone Wednesday as he toured U.S. cities to select a location for the company’s headquarters. “But this is a 10-year project. It’s not about jumping in and creating market share as quickly as possible.”
The strategy, revealed late last year by PSA CEO Carlos Tavares, is to re-enter the U.S. through nontraditional means. Under Tavares’ “Push to Pass” global business plan, Dominique’s mission is to first establish PSA as a U.S. mobility company, providing consumers with ride-hailing and car-sharing services.
PSA will then begin populating those mobility services with its French-brand vehicles. And finally, the automaker will launch its own sales channel.
Dominique said that PSA has not decided which of its three brands -- Peugeot, Citroen or DS -- will be launched here. Nor has it decided whether retailing will occur through a traditional independent dealership-based distribution network or some other way.
He declined to say how much PSA is prepared to spend to re-establish a U.S. foothold.
“It’s going to be a significant amount of money to re-enter the market,” he said. “But we haven’t set a number.
“If we can find more efficient ways to market and sell our vehicles -- whether it’s in a traditional partnership with investors or not -- those are things that can heavily influence the cost of coming to market.”
Dominique’s new assignment reunites him with Tavares.
Before a management stint with TrueCar -- which included the presidency of the industry valuation firm Automotive Lease Guide -- Dominique was a former General Motors engineer who joined Nissan Motor Co. in the 1980s and later steered the development of Nissan’s full-size pickup, the Titan.
He went on to head Nissan’s product development for the Americas, which first brought him together with Tavares, who was then in charge of Nissan’s global product planning in Japan.
Tavares became Nissan’s chairman for the Americas in Nashville, with Dominique working for him in charge of product planning for the region.