Peugeot finally returns to America in April... as a car-sharing service

PSA takes a low-key approach to its US return by investing in TravelCar.

Peugeot-Citroen parent PSA Group hasn't officially operated in the US in more than two decades, so let's just say its reentry to the States appears to be a fairly innocuous one. PSA said that it has partnered with France-based insurance company MAIF to invest about $16 million in car-sharing service TravelCar. The car-sharing service has operated in France since 2012 and will debut US operations when it starts working out of Los Angeles and San Francisco airports in April.

TravelCar is different from other car-sharing services such as ZipCar in that it rents out other people's cars. It's that detail that makes MAIF an interesting partner, as it provides insurance services in case those cars get munched. TravelCar offers free parking at airports to those willing to let their vehicles be rented out while they're traveling. In turn, TravelCar says its car-rental rates are about half that of typical rental-car places. TravelCar operates in 10 European countries and says it has about 300,000 users.

PSA says the investment is the first step in a 10-year plan in what it calls its "progressive entry" into North America. No other details about that re-entry process have been revealed. The investment is a little less splashy than the recent news that has surfaced about PSA potentially acquiring General Motors' European divisions Opel and Vauxhall.

PSA, which was founded in 1976 (though Peugeot has been making cars since the 19th century), also said last month that it's providing eight electric vehicles to a Paris commercial vehicle-sharing program as part of a one-year trial geared to analyze ways to cut urban pollution.

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