Atlanta has become a hub for automotive manufacturer locations. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz are both headquartered there, and even Kia Motors has a manufacturing plant located outside of the city in West Point, Georgia. The state has shown to be favorable to the heavy hitters of the automotive industry. In addition to these companies, one more manufacturer can now add their name to the list of new businesses making their way to the city. The French car manufacturer, Groupe PSA, maker of Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall is establishing their North American headquarters in Atlanta in February 2018.
The Atlanta metro area has the fifth largest population in the United States with over five million residents. The city is also known to have a considerably low cost of living compared to major cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Boston. This, along with the city’s business environment influenced Groupe PSA to locate in the southern town.
Re-emergence After a 27 Year Hiatus
According to the press release, Groupe PSA is in it for the long-haul. The company has been gone from the American scene since 1991. However, Groupe PSA has a long-term plan for their move to Atlanta. They have established a 10-year project for their entry into the North American auto industry. This includes the manufacturing of vehicles that meet U.S. standards. While the company does not have immediate plans to sell automobiles through dealer networks, their decade-long stay could open the door for it at some point.
Using Ridesharing as an Entry Point
The company is also planning to jump on the ridesharing trend and further the reach of the Free2Move platform. In April 2017, the company launched the Free2Move app in Seattle. The service allows users to compare the pricing of multiple transportation options including Car2Go, Zipcar, and TravelCar. The company will contribute to this mobility service by offering additional, car, scooter, and bike options for users to rent for a short period of time.
Groupe PSA is a sales juggernaut in Europe and Asia. They are the second largest automaker in Europe, reported revenue of $60 billion in 2016, and they sold more than 3.5 million units in 2017. The company also employs 170,000 employees worldwide as of 2016. One of their most popular vehicles, Peugeot, has the highest sales in Denmark and Slovenia. Groupe PSA is looking to bring this success to North America and influence innovation with mobility services and eventually retail.
Electric Car Innovations
The foreign manufacturer is also known for their innovations regarding their push for electric vehicles. In September 2016, the company announced a partnership with Chinese auto manufacturer, Dongfeng, to develop technologies that move away from combustion engines and support electric vehicles. They will be in good company as they join other American manufacturers moving toward electric cars.
The French automaker is entering the North American market at an exciting time. While ridesharing is still catching on with the masses due to Uber and Lyft, many other U.S. car manufacturers have also allowed consumers to rent their vehicles using mobile applications. So, the Free2Move entry point could be a beneficial one as it can introduce the company to a new clientele that may have never heard of them. In addition to appealing to modern car trends, the company hopes the business environment, standard of living, and workforce of the Atlanta area will help to propel them forward nationwide.