Engaging discussion on the Peugeot 508 launch with CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato, whose company’s money is made mostly via SUVs these days.
In fact, 60% of its profits come from tall vehicles. Most of the rest is from commercial vehicles.
Interesting idea he floated, though. He says that the 508 was always going to still be offered as an estate (no big surprise there) but that the focus had been on making it a good-looking, rakish kinda thing. A shooting brake/break/whatevs sort of set-up, because “in the coming five years, you’ll see a business’s fleet which have 10 SUVs available”, he said.
An SUV has become the premium, you see – and the trend isn’t yet going away – but when everybody’s got one, is it the premium choice any more?
“We are trying to invent the after-SUV,” he said. Not today, not tomorrow, but he can perceive a time – “maybe five years” – when the tide begins to turn.
He’s not alone. Kia’s product planning chief Artur Martins said on the Ceed launch: “The buyers who bought the first SUVs, some of those are going to go back to a four-door coupé, which is a more emotional product.”