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Dreaming of Driving a Peugeot in U.S.? Trump May Be a Roadblock

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 7/18/2018 David Welch
The Peugeot three-dimensional Lion logo sits on the front grill of a Peugeot automobile at the company's headquarters in Paris, France, on Monday, March 6, 2017. PSA Group agreed to buy General Motors Co.’s Opel unit in a transaction valued at 2.2 billion euro ($2.3 billion), creating Europe’s second-largest carmaker in a bid to better compete in the region’s saturated market.: PSA Buy's GM's Opel In Billion Dollar Deal© Bloomberg PSA Buy's GM's Opel In Billion Dollar Deal

Car buffs with a taste for Gallic style may have to wait a while longer for French cars to return to the U.S., thanks in part to President Donald Trump.

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PSA Group has been plotting a return to the American market by 2026—first with a car-sharing service, then actually selling vehicles. But if Trump follows through on a potential 25 percent tariff on imported cars, the French automaker could look to Canada first and wait and see what happens with the U.S., said Larry Dominique, president of PSA North America. The company may have to offer more expensive vehicles due to higher levies, he said.

“Tariffs are on our minds,” Dominique said Tuesday during a presentation to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. “Tariffs impact how fast and at what price point we import vehicles into the U.S. I’m crossing my fingers.”

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Dominique, a former Nissan Motor Co. executive, said PSA has already started engineering its future models to meet U.S. safety and emissions rules. The company, which left the American market in 1991, hasn’t decided whether to mount a comeback with the brands Peugeot, Citroen, or its luxury line DS.

The free-trade deal Canada clinched with the European Union last year would make America’s northern neighbor a snap. And it won’t hurt that part of the population speaks French.

“We think we’ll have success in Quebec,” Dominique said.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Welch in Southfield at dwelch12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Cecile Daurat, Jamie Butters

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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