The Peugeot 508 will live on in the company’s lineup when it comes up for replacement, boss Maxime Picat has confirmed — but it is likely to be restyled in a bid to widen its appeal beyond its core markets.
The big family saloon and estate sell well in some regions — notably France (where it has a 20% share of sales in the segment), Spain and Belgium — but they struggle against more premium opposition in other markets, including the UK. Annual sales of the 508 have fallen from around 75,000 cars a year on its launch in 2011 to 45,000 last year.
However, Picat insisted that “across the average of European sales, it is worth doing and it is profitable”, and he confirmed the car would be replaced when it reaches the end of its current lifecycle, in around 2018.
“The question is not ‘Will we replace it?’, because we know we should,” said Picat.
“The question is whether we repeat the same 4.8-metre saloon design or not. We see the segment the car is in is losing customers and we also see that it isn’t a segment that customers dream of moving up to, so the opportunities for sales are going to decline step by step if we stand still.
“So it might be that we look at changing some of the car’s capabilities in order to compete. We won’t take a big risk, because we don’t have a huge car park of customers we can risk losing, but we can move the lines of where the class is and we can be a little bold. We have a solution which, we think, is a good surprise — but I will not tell you more.”
The business case for replacing the 508 is likely to be further strengthened by the strategy of the PSA Group to expand the DS lineup to include a large saloon and by Citroën’s renewed emphasis on selling cars that major on comfort and style.