Blog: Dave LeggettPeugeot’s battle ahead

Dave Leggett | 22 March 2007

I’ve been in a Peugeot 407 Coupe this week – the high-spec HDi GT with a 2.7L diesel V6. The good things in a nutshell: the engine and the interior. I’m not usually a fan of coloured leather (it’s a kind of maroon hue) but the interior and the driver’s seat is instantly likeable, tactile and very comfortable. The diesel engine is smooth (with auto box) and delivers plenty of pulling power. Is the styling as nice as the Pininfarina developed 406 Coupe? Maybe not. And I gather some reviewers believe that it offers a less involving drive than its predecessor too.

Most people will find it pretty acceptable though and it’s not a bad package at all. But GBP28,000 to buy it new seems a bit on the heavy side. I guess it will depreciate fairly rapidly and will make a good value proposition on the used car market in a few years’ time.

It can’t be easy though, can it, for volume brands to mix it with premium brands? There has to be some kind of proposition that makes it exceptional. The 406 Coupe benefited from the widely known Pininfarina connection. The danger here is that, at the price it is being offered, people will say ‘it’s not bad, but why would I take it over a BMW?’

I was reflecting on this and the job ahead facing PSA’s new boss, Christian Streiff. He has taken over the reins just as PSA has entered a sticky patch. Profits are down. The competitive landscape, especially in Europe, is as tough as ever. It will take time for the reviews he has initiated to be undertaken.

One thing about PSA that has always struck me as a bit odd is having two volume brands with massive product overlap. I know the argument has been made before that Peugeots and Citroens embody different values and have discrete customer groups, but to what extent is that really so, these days?

Difficult one though. You can’t just say, ‘we need some clear blue water between Citroen and Peugeot, sending Peugeot further upmarket. Make it so!’ But the product review Streiff has ordered needs to be underpinned by a very good understanding of where the two brands are and where they should be going.

 


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