What FCA is joining: Stellantis’ hits and misses
FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV) and PSA (Peugeot SA) are set to merge into Stellantis, creating one company out of American Chrysler, Italian Fiat and Alfa Romeo and Maserati, French Peugeot and Citroën, and German-American Opel. Most Americans haven’t seen a Peugeot in many years, and only see Citroëns in movies if at all. So what does PSA sell now?
Rendering of a possible Chrysler sedan based on the Peugeot 508
In Europe, FCA sold 279,009 vehicles during the first half of 2020 (about half of their same-period 2019 numbers). The vast majority of those sales were Fiats (199,171), with Jeep, thanks largely to the Renegade and Compass, accounting for most of the rest. The great hope of the company, the billions-of-euros gamble, Alfa Romeo, managed a mere 14,000 sales, less than those of the aged Lancia Ypsilon alone.
Peugeot was far out of FCA’s league in Europe, with 753,688 sales (down by around half from the same period in 2019). The mix of brands was far more even, with Citroën at 202,680; Opel/Vauxhall at 211,909; and Peugeot itself at 318,780. The semi-lux brand DS sold 20,319 cars, nearly all of which were the DS3 and DS7 Crossbacks. While DS hasn’t really been considered to be a rousing success, it did clobber Alfa Romeo, even if you throw in Maserati for fun.
Within Citroën, sales were driven mainly by the C3, followed by the C3 Aircross and C6 Aircross. Within Opel/Vauxhall, the big seller was the Corsa compact car, followed by the Crossland X, Grandland X, and midsized Astra. At Peugeot, the big sellers were the 208, 3008, 2008, and 308. But what are all those cars?
The C3 is a “supermini” car in size, a traditional hatchback and sedan with a convertible version as well; it competes with the VW Polo and Opel Corsa, among others. The C6 is essentially a conventional car like the C3, but larger. The Aircross versions are in a lifted-wagon format—dubbed SUVs, but really CUVs (crossovers). Think of them as being like the Jeep Renegade in basic form. The C3 crossover is not quite at the popularity of the C3, but the C6 crossover is well ahead of the traditional C6.
At Opel, the X series are also crossovers; while they aren’t selling as well as the Corsa, they are getting closer and likely are more profitable. The Opel Crossland X is very similar to the C3 Aircross. Both Corsa and Astra have been popular standbys in the UK (where they are Vauxhalls) for many years.
Peugeot-based Chrysler Aspen rendering
Then there is Peugeot. At DS, crossovers are Crossbacks; at Citroën, they are Aircrosses; and Opel, X cars; and, at Peugeot, they get an extra 0 in the middle of their name. The 208 is a compact car; the 2008, a compact crossover. The 308 is the next size up; the 3008, the crossover that’s the next size up.
PSA, unlike FCA, seems to have decided that every brand should have crossovers as well as traditional cars, and it’s been working well so far. It will be interesting to see how that translates into the North American setup, and which platforms replace Fiat counterparts—and when.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, and lives in Farmingdale, New York.