A French automaker wants to break into the American market, but not by selling cars to individuals.
Groupe PSA launched its Free2Move “mobility aggregation platform” Tuesday in Seattle. The smartphone app lets users compare car sharing services such as Car2Go, Zipcar to determine which works best for them at a certain time. Free2Move says it will introduce bike sharing over the next 60 days for the Seattle app users from Ofo Bike, Lime Bike and Spin Bike.
Free2Move operates in seven other countries and claims 400,000 customers
Free2Move operates in France, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria and Sweden, claiming 400,000 customers. Seattle is its first US city, but Portland, Oregon is among the next set of markets that will get the service, according to Automotive News.
“The decision to launch a service that helps people move around in the most efficient way underscores our commitment to the future of Groupe PSA,” said the company’s North America President and CEO Larry Dominique in a news release. “As mobility services evolve and innovate based on the way people think about and consume mobility, bringing Free2Move stateside provides us with a unique way to address consumer demands, as well as a flexible platform to roll out future products.”
PSA is best-known for its Peugeot and Citroen brands. But Peugeot last sold cars in the US in 1991, while Citroen hasn’t officially had a presence in the country since 1974. But the company is one of Europe’s largest automakers and, this year, acquired Opel from General Motors – which also hasn’t had a US presence since the ‘70s. This year, PSA is set to surpass the likes of BMW, Daimler and Fiat Chrysler for total production.
PSA may start selling its own cars in the US early next decade
As part of its business plan, PSA announced last year it would introduce a mobility service in the US before introducing its own cars in that market. But the company has hinted that its DS brand, a rival to Audi and Volvo, may be headed for North America early next decade.
For now, though, Free2Move is the only experience most Americans will have with the French automaker.