Peugeot has recently started to go in a different styling direction, a move kick-started by the launch of the much-admired SR1 sports car earlier this year.
Autocar caught up with design boss Gilles Vidal about the reasons behind the change and what we can expect in the future; revelations included plans to incorporate the front-end styling of the SR1 on a next-generation Peugeot GTI hot hatch.
Why does Peugeot need a new look?
Because times are changing so fast. Our cars have had a kind of hyper-sports look, but things are different now. Cars are being designed for lightness and efficiency. We must express this.
After the SR1, how will the new principles progress?
We will have a car at Paris that shows very well how our new design principles work for affordable cars.
Will smaller grilles and lights work with a hot hatch like the 208 GTI?
It’ll give us a chance to redesign the front, won’t it? We know we can make the new philosophy work with the GTI quite easily.
Pininfarina once designed Peugeots. Why don’t you use them nowadays?
We do, actually, but there has been a shift in skills. In-house designers are sharper now, and they know the brand philosophy backwards. Outside designers are still good, but they lack inside knowledge.
Where will the next design revolution come from?
New manufacturing technology will bring design freedom. Stuff like full LED lights that allow us to make better use of frontal space, and smaller radiators and air scoops that come from better efficiency. Even stuff like stereo lithography for the manufacture of volume components will make a big difference. Believe me, life can get better yet…