Fiat Chrysler, now known as Stellantis following its merger with Groupe PSA, confirmed that it would not be bringing Peugeot back to the American market. That’s a shame, but maybe not really, because Peugeot is currently going upmarket and it probably wouldn’t have brought us the good small hatches.
I have an idea, though: What if Peugeot came back and brought only the good small hatches?
You might say that this makes zero business sense. You might say that only a handful of Americans even want a small Peugeot hatchback. You might say that moving upmarket makes sense for a company like Peugeot that is interested in “making money.” You might also say that modern Peugeots are bland and slightly underpowered, so who will miss them anyway?
I’m not an accountant, nor am I a Stellantis shareholder, so all of these concerns are not mine but those of someone who probably drives a Mercedes S-Class. No, I am here rooting for the automakers to always make the weirdest, most interesting choices possible. I am here rooting for Peugeot to set up shop in the States offering just the 108 and 208 and say, “Yes, it’s true that the 108 has a 1.0-liter engine that makes 72 brake horsepower. It is also true that the base 208 makes 74 brake horsepower. Why are you so mad?”
It’s the least a company like Stellantis could do, really, given that it makes plenty of coin pushing the anachronistic vulgarity that is the Dodge Challenger, most versions of which get fuel economy in the teens. I would also argue that the Mitsubishi Mirage needs, nay deserves, some respect — and competition.
All of these automakers are trying to go premium all the time, but give me an automaker that wants to go downmarket for once. Give me an automaker that takes one look at the Chevy Spark and puts its best engineers on the job of beating it. In 2021, with everyone trying to out-truck or out-Model Y one other, that’s the most interesting thing any automaker can do.