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Peugeot should stay out of Mitsubishi's way

If Peugeot and Mitsubishi really tie the knot on a global partnership, let's hope for the sake of their marriage they agree on one thing: Don't compete against each other in the U.S. market.

Both brand names are well known here. Mitsubishi is clawing its way back from self-inflicted new-product obscurity. Peugeot is missing entirely from America, despite some warm and fuzzy memories among enthusiasts, and despite the band of would-be Peugeot dealers who have longed for its return.

But as long as Mitsubishi is on the ground here, Peugeot needs to stay out, just in case it is secretly lusting for a comeback.

The partnership model to follow would be Renault-Nissan. Not Ford-Volvo or Daimler-Chrysler, or even Fiat-Chrysler, where Fiat seems determined to remake Chrysler in its own image.

Renault let Nissan be Nissan in the U.S. market and stayed out of its way. That helped both partners make billions in profits over the past decade. Peugeot could help Mitsubishi do the same.

The U.S. market is wickedly expensive, and American consumers tend be brand-fickle and technology-stubborn. Two hungry brands at this table will simply steal the cake out of each other's mouth.

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