New Peugeot 9X8: here’s what it’s missing

Mr Tavares, I wouldn’t be presumptuous enough to point out that the 205 played a major role (along with the Citroën BX, let’s not forget) in rescuing the PSA group over 40 years ago. Nor would I add that the Turbo16 version and its presence in the World Rally Championship – thanks to Jean Boillot and Jean Todt, among others – enhanced the image of the Peugeot brand. Forty years on, the context has obviously changed, with a mutation of the automotive world that the general public is not really aware of: a paradigm shift in powertrains, metamorphosed factories and competition from China. No, I don’t have the nerve to go into the history that you know better than anyone else.

But when I read this morning a sports weekly whose name starts with ‘AUTO’ and ends with ‘hebdo’, I devoured the feature on the Peugeot 9X8 2.0 below. And as I closed this paper magazine – it smells of paper, but that’s OK doctor, I’m from a generation that smoked on planes – I immediately thought of the soul of a brand. Soul. Body. Passion. Emotion. I thought of the 205 Turbo 16, but also of the RCZ coupé above with the… 908 !-. A folly that Christian Streiff had authorised. And even if it wasn’t as successful as expected, at the end of the 2000s it confirmed that Peugeot knew how to take risks. And to respect its DNA and the three key words that have since become an integral part of its communications: Allure, Emotion, Excellence.

The 9X8s will be going to the Le Mans 24 Hours representing a brand that lacks a flagship model with an original silhouette, emblematic of the competitive spirit that runs through its veins. It’s not for want of having the skills in-house and having them transpire in flamboyant concept cars*. The excellent 508 PSE? Admittedly, it doesn’t have the impact of a totaly new silhouette. The same goes for DS Automobiles below, which is going round in circles on circuits lined with advertising hoardings in a championship that highlights the electric powertrain. The DS range has still not been given a dedicated model, despite a large number of sports concept cars.

So yes, the time has come for other battles against regulations, industrial change, the Chinese, etc. But at Le Mans, when the 9X8s go through the ‘weigh-in’ for scrutineering in front of a passionate audience, your prototypes will still be missing a few kilos of passion. An exacerbated passion which should create a real link between the brand’s expertise in competition and (small) series production, as shown below with a drawing by Peugeot Design. Something the Chinese, who have so little history to tell, have yet to achieve…

Especially in a context of product development in which carry-over annihilates a certain amount of architectural daring: hasn’t the time come to offer a few breaths of fresh air to the product plan with an RCZ 2.0? I’m going to close AUTOhebdo and read the business pages of Le Figaro, which will calm my illusions…

*Congratulations on the exhibition of some of these concepts at the Musée de l’Aventure Peugeot. Congratulations also to the Association de l’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS, which is making do with what little resources it has.

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Nouvelle Peugeot 9X8 : voici ce qu’il lui manque

Monsieur Tavares, je n’aurais pas l’outrecuidance de rappeler que la 205 a grandement participé (avec la Citroën BX, il ne faut pas l’oublier) au sauvetage du groupe PSA, voici plus 40 ans. Je n’ajouterais pas non plus que la version Turbo16 ci-dessus et sa présence en championnat du monde des […]

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