It’s not my choice as favourite, but rather that of three senior executives from rival motor companies.
Separately, and on condition of anonymity, they talked up the style-led version of the Peugeot 208 at the Geneva motor show, highlighting the way the concept delivered such strong appeal – and potential for profits – to a type of car buyer that nobody has fully engaged with yet.
Rivals such as Mini and Citroen’s DS brand, they argued, still traded on performance and retro cues, whereas the cutesy Peugeot was unashamedly cool in a modern way. If Peugeot put it into production (as they surely will) they reckoned it would pull in cash-rich 20-something buyers like the proverbial hot cakes.
“We’ve all used fast performance cars to attract a certain image and type of buyer, but the Peugeot 208 XY plays an entirely different kind of performance, one that is about luxury, good looks and materials that make you go ‘wow’ when you climb in,” said one rival. “If it’s executed well it could bring a whole new generation of car buyer to Peugeot and shift the brand image a long way away from its current one of selling lots of cars at big discounts.”
After all that I went back for a second look at the XY, as I’d rather hurried past it in my eagerness to see the Peugeot 208 GTI concept.
I sort-of got their point (not being 20-something or cool doesn’t help) - but I also hope that in their eagerness to cash in on the potential of the XY Peugeot doesn’t forget that there are still plenty of lovers of old school warm and hot hatches, and that the GTI has an established history of transforming the brand.