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Peugeot refuses to build 'Googlebox'

Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato says the way forward is to offer multiple powertrain options in the same vehicle.

Impassioned is a word that describes Peugeot CEO, Jean-Philippe Imparato. He says he wants to make ‘un-boring cars’, and says there is no room for a ‘Googlebox’ in his brand’s line-up.

 “We would never make a standalone electric car. Never,” he said, implying that every car he sells in the future will instead be offered with the choice of electric, plug-in hybrid, petrol, or diesel powertrain.

“The game for us, the tactic for us - is to be ready to sell a Peugeot, not sell a powertrain,” he said. “We stand by the fact we have, first, a line-up. Then we sell the choice of the powertrain.

“I will spend hundreds of billions in energy in design to provide something, I hope, sexy. I will not waste that selling you a Googlebox, a shitty car, in order to explain that I am compliant [with emissions regulations]” said Imparato, making reference to some of the futuristic statement cars and pod-like concept vehicles on display at the 2018 Paris motor show.

“We don't want to be bored at Peugeot. That is not part of our DNA,” he said. “When we see some of our competitors, illustrating the change in time with things like Star Wars, Aliens, Space Odyssey, we don't want to have this anxiety vis a vis the future. We want serenity, pleasure and simplicity.”

That thought was mirrored in a chat with the designer of the e-Legend concept coupe, a fully electric show car with autonomous driving that has the shell of a classic Peugeot 504 Coupe.

“Science-fiction shows us a scary future,” said Peugeot head designer Gilles Vidal. “There’s no happy science fiction movie. I looked, there’s no enthusiastic, happy sci-fi movie. They’re all dark in some way or another, they’re all scary.

“The future, or futurism, is always a bit weird. But we said ‘no’, the future can be super enthusiastic, it can be emotional, it can be bright and interesting. Let’s not see autonomous driving as a loss of something - it can be delightful in many ways.”

So, cute little pod-like autonomous cars won’t be sold by Peugeot, if Imparato has his way. But he said that the future of mobility will include a broad range of options.

“It will be the customer who chooses. First he will choose a Peugeot, then he will choose the drivetrain."

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