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Peugeot chops model range in half
Call it a consolidation. Peugeot, in its continuing quest for a stronger identity within the PSA architecture (and profit, of course), will cull its model range and focus on core cars, Peugeot chief executive Maxime Picat has told TG.
Peugeot’s 26-strong global model range is being cut to just 13 models. This doesn’t mean there’ll be no replacement the 208, more that South Americans will be waving goodbye to a small pick-up called the Hoggar. Oh, and the RCZ is officially on the ‘at risk’ register.
“When you look calmly to the past, the last decade we have overinvested by attacking every segment of the European market,” says Picat. “Cars like RCZ and CC I love, but don’t sell anywhere else in the world and also we neglected the rest of the range : 207, 307 not good enough. I want the best 308 possible, the best 108, 208, 3008 possible. I want the energy, the resources focused on improving the range.”
So the core models will receive all the attention. They will get the much-needed improvements in quality and comfort, and at least some of the new materials that Peugeot’s concept cars wear so prominently. The slow sellers will be phased out.
In their place will come, inevitably, SUVs. Picat has a point when he says, “SUVs are the global cars today. Every time we are developing an SUV we have got a car we can industrialize everywhere in the world.” Hence the Quartz concept car (pictured) that sits proudly on Peugeot’s Paris show stand.
It’s a truly concept-y concept car though, not nearly production ready. And that’s the thing. Picat, unusually for a company boss, seems to be in no hurry to force the pace. “You cannot do this fast, this is a 20 year plan,” he tells us. “We are not the first one [developing electric cars or SUVs] so we are not in a rush.”
To back this up, Picat cites the slow take-up of electric cars, and the fact that PSA already has the lowest combined CO2 figures of any European car firm. But is that somewhat short-sighted?
Peugeot has lower CO2 than BMW or VW because it has so few larger cars to swing the average. And though electric car take-up has been slow, it seems we’re nearing a tipping point, thanks principally to the BMW i3 and VW e-Golf (and before them the ground work put in by the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius). When a critical mass of buyers suddenly switch, others will follow in their footsteps. Is Peugeot ready for that potential paradigm shift?
At least it won’t be accused of a bloated range. Picat’s strategy begins with halving the global model lines, and phasing out the less popular tech and drivetrain options. The diesel hybrids will die, replaced by petrol plug-in hybrids. There will be many SUVs. You might not dream of owning a Peugeot crossover right now, but Picat believes that will change. Will he get the time to prove it?