This week's gossip from the automotive industry brings news of Peugeot's 508 discounts, an intriguing test for the Range Rover Velar's door handles, and how Seat's appeal to younger buyers can help the whole of the VW Group.
No discounted 508s
Peugeot boss Jean Philippe Imparato has told Autocar that the days of offering large price discounts on its big 508 saloon are over. “If I was [faced with] selling the car at a 40% discount again, I wouldn’t [even] enter the market,” he said. “I will not kill this car through discounting. If demand is not there, I will simply make less [of them].” A new, more upmarket 508 is due in 2018.
The Range Rover Velar’s flush, retractable door handles were put through durability testing at -20deg C to ensure they would still operate. The handles were frozen shut in 4mm of ice to test whether they still worked. They did.
Seat's youthful approach
Seat boss Luca de Meo has been pondering the brand’s allure with younger buyers and how it can play a role in attracting new customers who then move through the VW Group’s other marques.
“The average age of our customers is 40 [years old], whereas for the other [VW brands] it is over 50, and our average is swayed by some very young buyers. If we can be an entry point to the group’s models with our smaller models, then I’m happy with that,” he said.
Ford execs admit that launching its upmarket Vignale sub-brand with the Mondeo has limited its appeal. Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain’s chairman, said the Vignale version of the new Fiesta is likely to get the highest uptake – he predicts over 10% of all Fiesta sales. “People like the idea of a car you can buy without having to tick too many option boxes,” he said.