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Designed to win! Peugeot says keys to Australian success are design and electrification

Peugeot Design Director, Matthias Hossann, aims to blend emotion with technology.

After more than a century in the Australian new car market, including local assembly in the 1950s and ‘60s, Peugeot remains a niche player here. 

But despite recording fewer than 1500 registrations for the first eight months of 2022, Peugeot Australia believes the distinctive design of current and upcoming models as well as the progressive electrification of its range are the keys to greater sales success.

Peugeot Australia Managing Director, Kate Gillis told CarsGuide: “Design is definitely the call-out that we get. Peugeot is still a brand and a marque that is quite well known, so we’ve got the latent positive regard for the brand, and it’s then matching it with product that’s quite unexpected."

“It’s a modern take, reflecting the technology, offering a surprise in terms of what Peugeot is now and into the future,” she said.

On the question of whether Peugeot’s French roots are part of its appeal, Ms Gillis said: “Peugeot’s style is more European than French. It’s refinement, a certain level of finish, the inherent quality that comes from European design.”

Peugeot’s National Corporate Affairs & Public Relations Manager, Chloe Fraser added: “The design ethos is so strong, and that’s what we see customers resonate with.”

Peugeot’s current Design Director, Matthias Hossann was appointed in mid-2020, but his predecessor, Gilles Vidal, is credited with moving the brand to a ‘lighter’, high-tech look and feel.

Another distinct shift in Peugeot’s trajectory is the move from diesel specialist to a focus on electrification.

Current SUV models offered locally - the compact 2008, mid-size 3008, and full-size 5008 - were developed under Mr Vidal’s watch, while the soon-to-arrive 308 hatch and wagon as well as the mid-size 408 liftback (set to join the 508 Fastback and Sportswagon), show more of Mr Hossann’s influence.

Mr Hossann is on the record defining the brand’s change in visual ID, especially the latest, stylised version of Peugeot’s lion logo, as a sign of a strategic shift upmarket.

His stated aim is to "blend emotion with technology", referring to interior design in particular as moving towards the creation of a “third space" which will have similar aesthetic appeal to contemporary living spaces.

Another distinct shift in Peugeot’s trajectory is the move from diesel specialist to a focus on electrification.

Peugeot Australia believes the distinctive design of current and upcoming models as well as the progressive electrification of its range are the keys to greater sales success.

As Ms Gillis, said: “Electrification is at the top of our mind. People are embracing it. It’s a topic that is hot on everybody’s lips. It’s in media everywhere. The question is, how does Australia start to build credibility within that space?"

“Electrification is inevitable and there’s a shift in that thinking, and what’s great for us is that at this point in time we’ll have the choice of engines, be it ICE or electrification,” she said.

“As we move forward, we’ve got that with 308 coming, 3008 is very present, 508 with the PHEV. People are seeing that as a natural transition. It’s not one brand, like us doing it, it’s the entire industry.” 

Ms Fraser added: “Plug-in is a great opportunity as a stepping-stone. The 308 with PHEV will launch in the first half of next year. That opportunity to offer customers that stepping-stone on the full-electric journey is really important.”

James Cleary
Deputy Editor
As a small boy James often sat on a lounge with three shoes in front of him, a ruler between the cushions, and a circular drinks tray in his hands....
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