Peugeot, the PSA Group’s most successful brand, grew its sales significantly by 10.4% last year.
In stark contrast to the performances of siblings Citroën and DS, whose sales declined 7.5% and 38.5% respectively, Peugeot sold 2,119,845 cars across the 12 months. That’s more than two-thirds of PSA’s total.
Buoyed by this strong performance, Peugeot chief executive Jean-Philippe Imparato told Autocar how he plans to ride the wave of growing SUV demand while also preparing his brand for an increasingly electrified future.
What were the most significant reasons for Peugeot’s rapid sales growth last year?
“A key reason for last year’s success is that 45% of our global demand came from outside of Europe – that’s up from 38% in 2015. The target for the year 2020 is to grow this to 50% because I consider it very important for our global sales targets.
“If you look at the results for the 3008 model [259,300 units were sold last year], it shows we are also well placed in the SUV segment. People are asking for more SUV products like this and they are following us as we move into a more upmarket position.”
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How does the 3008’s success affect the future product plan? “In 2017, we had more than 150% of the SUV sales that we’d had in 2016, so we know to push the SUV strategy harder. We will show you this year that we have some very interesting SUV projects.
“It will also help us to grow globally. In the 1960s, we built a reputation of reliability with SUVs in many markets. In the 21st century, I want to do things the same way – there is not a country or region I don’t want to be in. We recently opened in Vietnam with the 3008 and, each time I can do a new operation, our SUV line-up will head it.”
What effect will powertrain electrification have on Peugeot’s upcoming range?
“I want Peugeot to be a leader in electrification so, by 2019, 8% of our model line-up will be electrified. And, by 2020, 50% [will offer electrified variants]. The electric transition for Peugeot is not in the future,it is now. In the coming 10 years, I believe it is right to produce a dedicated electric model, but, in the next few years, I will have a modular platform because this will help us get maximum coverage of all the markets. It will give you the four energies: electric, hybrid, petrol and diesel.
“I also want to create a full ecosystem of services for electrification. If you want to go on holiday or drive 620 miles, you must have a mobility solution to complete the ecosystem. Owners would not only have the one car, you would have access to our mobility ecosystem.”
And what about autonomous driving technology?
“Again, I will give buyers a choice. We showed with the Instinct concept [at last year’s Geneva motor show] how we think autonomous technology with i-Cockpit [Peugeot’s interior concept] can be. But that car showed you would always have the choice to drive all of our cars.
“If you are in a traffic jam, you will not drive because it will be boring. But if you decide to drive because you love that, you will be able to do this. Our first fully autonomous car will come like this in 2025.”
Will the diesel sales downturn prevent Peugeot from meeting the mandated CO2 targets? “No. We will absolutely hit our CO2 targets for 2021. And I don’t need to launch a [dedicated] electric car and make a loss to hit the targets; I will launch a mix of [powertrains] to protect my operation.
“I want to make a profitable and sustainable business plan, with the correct mix of powertrains in order to cope with the regulations without losing money. We will be ready with our global ecosystem to meet the targets not just in 2021, but 2025 and 2030 as well.”