Renault is doing a great job of scheduling the presentation of its many new models, no doubt to the detriment of its French rival Peugeot. By presenting its Rafale (an Austral with a dynamic silhouette) and its Scénic E-Tech BEFORE the Peugeot 3008, Renault is forcing its rival to assume the status of follower. But the reality is quite different… Gilles Vidal’s teams have turned up the heat to 200° for an ultra-rapid cooking of these two projects (Rafale and Scénic). While the Rafale was designed (in part?) by the new head of Renault design and former head of Peugeot design, the Scénic appears to be the first vehicle to be 100% designed by Vidal.
Announced a long time ago, the 3008’s replacement has taken a long time – indeed, quite a long time – to reach the official presentation stage. It was snubbed by Renault and its Scénic at Munich, a show where only the Opel brand represented the Stellantis group. But Peugeot’s desire to be out of the limelight by presenting its new 3008 outside the showroom is a conscious decision. This late presentation hurts the general public, who think that the 3008 is a copy of the Rafale, or even the Scénic. In absolute terms, the 3008 still has some genes from the Vidal era and (a lot) from the new era of Peugeot’s design boss, Matthias Hossann.
It’s always complicated for a new brand design boss to get started under his new colours. For at least three years, he has to drag behind him the creations of his predecessor, sometimes endorsing them with a forced smile. Gilles Vidal was quick enough to put this transition period behind him and put his stamp on Renault’s designs. The problem is that this signature is very similar to that of Peugeot design, which he has relaunched in recent years. Hence the outcry from some who believe that it is up to the designer to immerse himself in the brand’s DNA, and not the other way round. But has Luca de Meo left the choice to the nugget Vidal, the surprise of the Stellantis-Renault mercato in 2020? Probably not.
The Italian boss has a priority objective, that of developing the range in the C (or even D) segment, and with the Austral, the Rafale, the Espace and the Scénic EV, here again the flurry (!) of new products is impressive. In any case, it’s more lively than Peugeot’s. In defence of Peugeot design, why would Matthias Hossann and his teams change a winning team? The 3008 is the star of the range and its renewal was carried out with pragmatism and calculated risk-taking, particularly with regard to the dynamic silhouette concept. But the transformation of the previous platform into the multi-energy STLA Médium may have slowed down the development process.
The current-generation 3008 was born in 2016, and its replacement will not go on sale until 2024, eight years later. That’s more than a year later than the current average. Peugeot could reply that the latest generation of Scénic, also born in 2016, will not be replaced in dealerships until early 2024. But the context is not the same: the previous Scénic remained rooted in the MPV attitude (albeit dynamic) whereas the 3008 has, since its first generation, adopted the crossover DNA… Be that as it may, the new Peugeot 3008, aided by its e-3008 variant and then the 5008 family car, will have to contend with several different silhouettes at Renault: Austral thermal and hybrid, Rafale thermal and hybrid, Scénic 100% electric and even Arkana thermal and hybrid. All the best!