PARIS -- PSA Group will be a partner in a ride-sharing service set to begin in April at airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles, taking the first steps toward re-entering the North American market.
TravelCar, a French company that offers peer-to-peer ride-sharing at airports and train stations in Europe, is launching the service after securing an investment of 15 million euros ($15.8 million) from PSA and MAIF, a French insurance company.
Under TravelCar's model, car owners can receive free parking in return for allowing their vehicle to be rented by travelers, at rates the company says are 50 percent lower than traditional car rentals. It also acts as a broker for reserved parking spaces.
The company, which started in 2012, says it has over 200 agencies in 10 European countries, with 300,000 users. MAIF provides insurance services for TravelCar's owners and renters.
"We announced our progressive entry to North America by launching mobility services with our partners," Gregoire Olivier, PSA's head of mobility services, said in a statement last week. "With TravelCar today, we are writing the beginning of this new step overseas."
PSA's five-year strategic plan, "Push to Pass," announced last year, outlines a 10-year strategy for re-entering the North American market. Peugeot last sold cars in the United States in the early 1990s.
"PSA will not become a global company if it doesn't come back to North America," CEO Carlos Tavares said last April.
Automakers are moving to diversify their portfolios with car-sharing and other mobility businesses.
"We have clearly stated that mobility services is a second core business to the company, along with manufacturing, which is a very strong statement," Christian Sere Annichini, PSA's head of global car sharing and connect fleet business unit, said in a joint interview last week with Guy Bulaty, the COO of TravelCar.
Bulaty said the U.S. was crucial for TravelCar's global ambitions. "We are going to the U.S. to stay; this is a long-term movement from TravelCar in association with PSA."