Over the last year, French automaker Peugeot has repeatedly indicated that it would be returning to the U.S. market. Recently, Peugeot said they’d be back by 2026 — a date that sounds like it’s a long way off, but really is surprisingly soon. We’re already in the 2020 model year, so Peugeot only has a few years to establish a dealership network, revise vehicles to meet regulations, ramp up marketing and convince Americans that this French brand (which hasn’t been sold here since 1991) is worth considering over more established companies. It’s going to be a long haul.
Fortunately, Peugeot seems to make some decent vehicles already — eight, in fact, although it’s unlikely that some of them will see the U.S. market, due to differences in our market’s tastes, compared to European and Asian markets. Here’s a quick look at Peugeot’s eight vehicles.
The 108 is Peugeot’s "supermini" subcompact car, and it’s probably the least likely to make it to North America. Americans don’t generally buy small cars, and profit margins here are slim to the point that they don’t make sense for many automakers. Still, the 108 is a desirable small car offered with a choice between two different 3-cylinder engines — and the 108 shares its platform and mechanical components with the Citroen C1 and the Toyota Aygo, all of which are popular vehicles.
The Peugeot 208 is Peugeot’s subcompact car, and it would rival vehicles like the Honda Fit or the Ford Fiesta if it came to the United States. Again, I’d suggest we’re likely to see the 208 here in North America due to our shifting tastes toward SUVs — but the 208 is an attractive car offered in 2- or 4-door body styles, available with a host of 3- or 4-cylinder engines. In Europe, this is one of Peugeot’s most popular models — no surprise, given the popularity of small hatchbacks there.
The Peugeot 508 is a "full-size" sedan, according to the European market — but here in the States, it would just be a midsize, competing with vehicles like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. Like the prior models, it seems unlikely that the 508 would make it to the North American market based on the recent lack of popularity for midsize sedans — but this one is more likely to arrive here than the 108 or the 208. The 508 is only offered with 4-cylinder engines, with gas or diesel variants, and it’s offered as a 4-door sedan (with a rear hatchback) or as a 5-door station wagon.
Peugeot uses "double zero" model names for its SUVs and crossovers — and with the 2008, we start to get into models that are likely to come to the U.S. market. The 2008 is Peugeot’s subcompact crossover, meaning it would compete with vehicles like the Honda HR-V, the Mazda CX-3 and the Nissan Kicks. Interestingly, the 2008 isn’t offered with all-wheel drive, much like the Kia Niro — but it’s got the crossover look and appeal, and it would likely reach a big audience in North America.
The Peugeot 3008 is a small crossover that would be a close competitor to vehicles like the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Rogue, the Toyota RAV4 and the Ford Escape in one of the most competitive segments in the entire car industry. I drove a 3008 for a review on my YouTube channel, since the small crossover is sold in Mexico, and I was impressed with its styling, quality and technology — though Peugeot will need to add more power before it comes to the North American market.
The Peugeot 5008 originally debuted a decade ago as a "compact MPV," which is a European term for a small minivan. But shifting market demands convinced Peugeot to redesign the 5008 as an SUV, which it became when it was redesigned for the 2017 model year. The 5008 is considered a midsize or even large SUV in Europe, but it’s relatively small by American standards. It would compete with vehicles like the Ford Edge and the Honda Passport, not quite reaching the level of the Toyota Highlander or the Ford Explorer.
Peugeot also offers two van models in Europe — a small version called the Rifter, and a larger one called the Traveler. Given the "chicken tax" imposed in North America on imported vans and trucks, it’s unlikely that these vehicles will make their way to the U.S. — at least in cargo form. They wouldn’t be taxed if they came over as passenger vans, but the van market is so small that it’s unlikely this would appeal to Peugeot. Still, they exist overseas, for van shoppers.