The merger of PSA (Peugeot-Citroën-Opel) with FCA (Fiat-Chrysler) in 2021 made Stellantis the second most powerful automotive group in Europe. It has thirteen volumes and niche brands, which are not sure that they will all survive. The most common carrier in Europe will be Peugeot.
As a reminder: in the 1970s, the rise of Japanese brands in the European and African markets in particular caused a great deal of damage to French car manufacturers. With affordable but well-equipped and reliable models, Toyota & Co managed to win the hearts of people who were ready for their first car and had no contact with a dealer in their village who also turned out to be a brand distributor. Until then, Citroën, Peugeot and Renault were leading Europe, Alfa Romeo and Fiat lacked in terms of comfort and reliability. Opel and Volkswagen offered strong opposition but, due to their excessive Germans, had a difficult time finding a place in southern Europe.
French products were blind
At the Paris headquarters of Citroën, Peugeot and Renault, it seems the people did not know about the terrible danger from the East, all attention was directed to the (prestigious) leadership struggle in their own country. It was fought on the edge of the razor and isolated from the beginning any form of unity or solidarity. Well-intentioned attempts to fix it also met with vigor not of trade unions. They planned one strike after another and skillfully undermined profits but also competition from French brands.
Citroën was the first to take the ax and was taken over by Peugeot in 1974, which led to the formation of the Groupe PSA (Peugeot-Citroën). Renault survived difficult years thanks to the support of the French government, the company’s largest shareholder.
After several years of disaster, the PSA was on the verge of bankruptcy, but as a result of the last rescue operation carried out by the same French province by Chinese car manufacturer Dongfeng, a French car fleet avoided a fatal death in early 2014.
Life saver Carlos Tavares
The new owners brought Carlos Tavares to the board. In the summer of 2013, a ‘savior of life’ expressed his displeasure with his then-boss at Renault, Carlos Ghosn, in a high-profile newspaper interview. That showed itself not happy on the slope of his right hand and place him at the door with clicks and clicks.
Lucky break, because that meant Tavares was out of work when the Groupe PSA rang the bell. The Portuguese manager, who demonstrated efficiency and determination at Renault, inquired and received a carte blanche from the board of directors for a major cleanup. And so it happened. As a first step, he announced a crackdown on spending that led to the demolition of a sacred house column within the French motorcade. In this way he eliminated the excesses of Armand Peugeot’s descendants.
Most importantly, after a short time he was able to redesign and update the portfolio of Peugeot and Citroën and turn the downward spiral into a high.
Confidence in one’s own ability returned to the workers. So much so that the Groupe PSA launched a new luxury brand with DS, suffered huge losses to European subsidiaries of GM Opel and Vauxhall and made them profitable in the short term. Like the icing on the cake, the Groupe PSA gained an operating profit of 8.5 percent, which is unique in its multi-brand mix.
More power together
The Italian entrepreneur family Agnelli also discovered Tavares’ consistent and successful approach. Through the holding company Exor, it was the main shareholder of the FCA (FiatChryslerAutomobiles) but the family found that the Italian-American group was too small and too creative to survive on its own in the fast-moving automotive world. So the FCA was looking for a coalition partner and was found in the Groupe PSA.
By connecting power, the Stellantis merger group was formed in 2021, which has thirteen brands and niche and is further integrated into Europe and America. The name of the group Stellantis refers to the Latin word Stella meaning ‘illuminated by the stars’. Johan Elkann, a spokesman for the Agnelli family, became chairman, and the operational leadership of the new merger group fell into the hands of Tavares.
The latter is faced with the daunting task of bringing different corporate cultures under one roof, directing both noses in the same direction and reversing technological backbone. Because it is an indisputable thing. Stellantis satellite brands also need to find direction in Asian growth markets. They now recognize three-quarters of their sales in Europe, something that is losing importance on a global scale.
As a result, Tavares has increased pressure on satellite brands and set targets and a timely schedule for them. Those who fail to achieve goals will fall by the ax of course. That is also the common Tavares.
To achieve the goals, brands are working on new concepts at a faster pace and developing a more aggressive style – based on the common platforms of all brands. Targeted synergies must be cost-effective and increase the operating costs of various brands.
One year after the merger, it is still too early to make a definite decision or make any decision. That is why we limit it to a few investigations. Many of the top positions in the new star have come into the hands of Peugeot veterans, the Tavares secretaries who have proven their skills. As a result, there is a high turnover of employees at the brand level, no one is sure of his seat.
Although the Groupe PSA brands have been working together for some time and have technological advantages over their counterparts from the FCA, we find that the transition to electric driving in Alpha, Fiat and Jeep takes longer and the same applies to model changes. At Opel, Citroën and Peugeot, on the other hand, the transition is much smoother and the new models are quickly following up with the introduction of the new 408 as the most impressive model.
The new aircraft, which will be launched in the market early next year, will be on the Peugeot 308 platform and should fill the gap towards 508. 408 is 4.69 meters long and 1.85 meters wide and has a wheel of 2.79 meters. which gives it an inner space of generosity. The boot capacity of 536 liters is greater than that of the other models in this section. With a minimum clearance of 19cm, the 408 can place a claim on the crossover label.
The 408 looks very powerful, the new grille with thin LED lights is an excellent design work of the car. The cockpit with a future shape is a 308 copy, opinions are very divided about its performance, to say the least. I have not yet met a Peugeot driver who has chosen the French brand because of the incredible i-cockpit, but I know many people who have not bought a Peugeot because of the i-cockpit.
As mentioned, the 408 is a size larger than the 308. The driver and his passengers are also slightly higher and therefore have a better traffic outline. The upper seat also increases the entry and exit.
The 408 will be available in three trim levels (Allure, Allure Pack and GT) with a 130 hp three-cylinder petrol engine and two plug-in hybrids (180 and 225 hp) with a 60-kilometer (WLTP) power column. Front wheel drive with 8-speed automatic transmission is common. Four-wheel drive is not available, a small hybrid and a full electric version will follow later.
We will report on driving behavior and guest performance later, after the initial driving test. Recent experiences with the latest Peugeot models have left a feeling of complacency, the new generation of Peugeot models runs smoothly, safely and vigorously. Add to that the complex structure, and it can be said that Peugeot becomes the Stellantis signature board.
The Peugeot family of entrepreneurs had been engaged in the manufacture of everything that could be made of metal for nearly a century, from garden utensils to clocks to coffee mills, carts and bicycles, in time, towards the end of the 19th century. ,yes century expanded its field of activity towards the construction of passenger cars.
Armand Peugeot took this step. With a diploma in the package Ecole des Arts et Metiers Armand went to Leeds to study the techniques of manufacturing the English steel industry on the spot. His first steam bike, with a Serpollet engine, was one of the attractions of the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris. Twenty-nine other species were followed in 1900. Proof of courage and strength, or restlessness?
Historians describe Armand as a thoughtful, friendly, and generous man with nothing but a difficult businessman. Other sources describe him as a daredevil who could not survive without a business venture and thus also suffered many setbacks. He died at the age of 66.