Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Peugeot 308 - Analysis and predictions

What should Peugeot do with the 308
Here is a list of things to do. Amongst the various items, some are addressed to different objectives: be leader in the overall class (hatchback+people carrier+SW+...); be leader in hatchback market and increase premium value. This last one is particularly important because it is related to the amount of profit that Peugeot will make out of it. It does not mean it can go up to BMW/Merc level. But it has good chances to make it well above Focus/Astras and closer to the 147/A3 level. Some of these items are also typical wishlists from fans of the current car that has well established areas for improvement:
- most important: 3008, the small people-carrier version. Make it right and success is granted.
- proportions: make it lower and wider, more muscular and aggressive. Add some “fatness” in the back, increase the metal/glass ratio in the profile. The shops in this post are a good example.
- keep the SW version (and the 3008) with the increased wheelbase. More space in the SW, more compact looks in the 3 and 5 door versions.
- try not to increase the front-overhang. I hope that other technologies can be used to overcome pedestrian safety regulations, something like the active bonnet as in the C6 perhaps? Also, I can understand a bigger overhang in a VW Golf for example, that has to fit a V6 in the top-version, and 4x4 versions across the range. But, since I don’t expect those things in the 308, there is no excuse: please keep the overhang short!
- change the door system: the one found on the 207, 307, 407(!!). Those things look cheap and sound bad when they close. Please use doors like in such cheap cars as the Fiesta or the Polo (not to mention Mégane II, Golf V, Focus II, Audi A3,A4, etc, BMWs etc. etc.). If they are used in Polos and Fiestas then it cannot be that more expensive, right? Use that system, throw in some fat rubber sealing in the door and make sure that they sound good when closed.
- Seek inspiration for the front lights in the 107. Make a wider 3rd stop-light. Use fog lights as in the 407. Careful on how you put the side mirrors in the door. Make the wheels fill the wheel arches well.
- Aluminium bonnet + plastic front fenders + steel doors = panel fitting nihtmare. This is the 307 today. Keep it simple so that you can make it with smaller, more even panel gaps and increase perceived quality.
- keep the leather in the top of the dash. With more colors, not just brown/red. Black too. And add the option of alcantara ceiling. Use less silver/wood detailing, or better, use it differently so that you can have the option of make it from real aluminium/wood. Instead of big, intricate central pieces like in the 307 seek inspiration in the 407. You can make more money if customers choose costly options such as the following: black leather seats + black leather in top of dash and doors + alcantara lining + brushed real aluminium insertions.
- Keep it simple. Simple but with exquisite materials (at least in option). Frequently the problem with French manufacturers is that they change everything for a new model. They (get all excited with new concepts but in the end, with time and budget constraints, things end up looking rushed and quality suffers. Make it just an evolution so that it is easy to improve the perceived quality.
- The luggage space trick: forget the spare wheel. You have two options. One is to sell the car with a tire sealing/fixing kit and no spare. That is the Golf V trick. The other is to use runflat tires. This is the BMW 1 series trick, a better quality, safer one, but more expensive.
- Please bring back the GTI. It is absurd the management that Peugeot made of their GTI heritage. From absolute leader with the 205GTI, 309GTI, 306GTI to the current state. Shame on you Peugeot! You need 200+ horsepower from turbocharged 2.0 engine, and as soon as possible.
- I assume diesels are well established, but the 2.2, 4 cilynder version with around 180hp would be nice.
- Whatever your magic with suspensions is, keep it that way. It’s wonderfull! But, do you remember the “happy-back” of the old 306? Add more of that. It can be dangerous for more inexperienced drivers but since probably ESP will be standard equipment there is no problem with it.
Tomorrow we will have a look at what Peugeot will give us from that list. What is missing and how that will mean failing some of the objectives.

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