Let there be dragons

I was perusing the Air France in flight magazine at the weekend on a trip to Paris and spotted an interview with Xavier Peugeot.  It’s a short piece with some obvious questions but it shows three important Peugeot directions.

The lion meets the dragon

The first is the growing market in China – one Peugeot is keen to embrace.  In fact, the forthcoming 508 was ‘designed by the Chinese and has specific features such as extremely spacious back seats’.  Quite.  While this feature is not obviously detrimental to other markets, it re-emphasizes the difficulty of building a single model for the global market while at the same time pandering to specific fads.  After all, one man’s extra leg room is another man’s short boot.

I also took in Peugeot’s show case store on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the Chinese theme hits visitors even before they enter the store.  ‘Quand le lion rencontre le dragon’ is emblazoned across the window – ‘when the lion meets the dragon’.  Text on the shiny 408 in the showroom continues the theme: ‘Dedicated to China’ – a bold yet possibly exclusionist move for the rest of Peugeot’s markets.

Secondly, CO2 is still a massive area of focus.  Peugeot’s launch of the first electric-diesel hybrid next year indicates an important approach; the all electric iOn, due at the end of this year will, if successful, also bring further credibility to Peugeot’s technological advances.

Lastly, Peugeot clearly recognises that the relationship between people and their cars is a very strong one.  It sees their ‘Mu by Peugeot’ plan which allows varied use of different vehicles – from bicycle to van – as an important move.  I suspect it will be some time before people can extricate themselves from the ownership experience though, so let us hope Monsieur Peugeot and his company continue to make exciting vehicles like the RCZ.  ‘It’s an incredible, vibrant adventure’ he says.  I certainly agree.  I just hope the dragon plays nicely with the lion.

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