French automaker PSA eyeing Canada amid Trump auto tariff threat

Jul 18, 2018 06:58 AM

[DETROIT] French automaker Groupe PSA may turn to Canada rather than entering the US market if Washington follows through on threats to impose blanket tariffs on auto imports, the company's regional chief said on Tuesday.

The company, which manufacturers the Citroen, Peugeot and Opel brands, had been planning a return by 2026 to the American market, which it left in 1991.

"Tariffs would affect how fast and at what price point we return to the US market," PSA North America CEO Larry Dominique told reporters.

President Donald Trump in May began a formal process which could result in raising US duties to 25 per cent on all imported autos and parts, goods valued at hundreds of billions a year.

Meanwhile, Dominique said Tuesday that, under a new free trade deal Canada was offering duty-free admission to European-made cars, meaning PSA could return to the North American market there instead.

PSA is also planning entering the US market with a car-sharing service before selling autos.

Mr Dominique told AFP the company had not yet settled on which brand to introduce to American consumers, who studies show have generally positive views of French automobiles.