The coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered some brick-and-mortar showrooms, has accelerated the acceptance of digitization across the auto retail industry, Dominique said. But it's not without its downside.
"All my competitors are going to be focusing on digital, which means we have to step up our game and deliver an even stronger customer experience when we launch Peugeot in North America," he said.
Dominique said he wants his retailers to be able to make money on selling Peugeots, not just on servicing and financing them.
"We need to get out of an environment where the retailers are dependent upon just F&I and service to pay their bills," he said.
Making that happen will require building a strong brand that has pricing power and a low-cost distribution system.
That will "allow dealers to retain margin because you're not focusing on high market share; you're not focusing on intrabrand competition," Dominique said. "You take away those levers that drop profitability."
Unlike Tesla, PSA is taking a more pragmatic approach with its digital-first retail model — embracing the franchised dealer model, rather than fighting it.
"The franchise laws exist; they exist for a reason," Dominique said. "They're not going to go away. So why resist it?"
Instead, PSA will look to its dealers to innovate new ways to sell and service vehicles. "I have dealers under NDA that are working with us, helping us build new ways to think about retailing," Dominique said.