Finally, Peugeot has its new logo. Expected for several months, it was officially unveiled on February 25. Do you find him an air of déjà vu? This is normal, it was announced by the e-Legend concept car, presented in 2018.
This style study paid tribute to the 504 Coupé, one of Gilles Vidal’s automotive references (then Peugeot style boss, who joined Renault in 2020). To go to the end of the neo-retro approach, the concept sported a logo from Peugeot’s past. This 2021 logo is therefore simply a reinterpretation of a coat of arms used by the brand in the 1960s!
Unfortunately, that’s about all that’s left of the e-Legend. The concept car may have sparked an avalanche of enthusiastic comments, Peugeot quickly closed the case by indicating that no production was on the agenda.
Such a model does not fall within the vision of Carlos Tavares, who wants tighter ranges, around mass-market vehicles, guarantees of profitability. From his arrival at the head of PSA in 2014, he cleaned up the offer of the group’s brands. With him, there is no question of having vehicles produced in too small quantities. This concerns bodies that can be easily done without, such as the 3-door variants of the 108 and 208, and especially the niche models.
In September 2015, the RCZ therefore left the range without having a replacement, even in the spirit. Since then, there is no longer a lion coupe, and more widely no vehicle that is out of the ordinary at Peugeot. The e-Legend had given hope again. Peugeot has also maintained the vagueness for a few months. But Jean-Philippe Imparato, boss of the brand, quickly calmed things down, stressing that the investment needed for a production version, which he estimated at 250 million euros, was too high. He had ended up being very clear in the spring of 2020, with a firm and definitive no.
If the project had such a cost, it is because the E-Legend was an electric model and Jean-Philippe Imparato had an electric production version in mind. We still have in mind a feeling of waste, a missed opportunity. Faced with such enthusiasm, at a time of modularity of platforms and sharing of a maximum of parts between vehicles, Peugeot could have imagined a simpler project from the 508. We would have gladly accepted d ” find the dashboard or the seats, if the outer casing was faithful to the concept.
It is besides this physique which triggered such enthusiasm, this enthusiasm which makes that relatives ask you “and when it comes out?”. And when you answer them “never”, they ask you “but why are they doing that then?”. This is reviving the debate on the usefulness of concepts! On the one hand, they are recreational living room machines that make you dream, and it is necessary, on the other hand they create a kind of frustration. Peugeot also reached out to get beaten by daring a television commercial with the E-Legend, reinforcing the confusion in the minds of the general public.
We imagine that, even making the E-Legend a simpler 508 Coupé, the economic equation would have been fragile, with uncertain commercial outlets. We remember the success of the 406 Coupé, which has sold more than 100,000 copies. But since then, the market has changed, with the fashion for SUVs … which also exist in coupes.
It remains sad to see that Peugeot no longer dares to afford a “favorite” machine. The very good profitability of the rest of the range could have allowed a difference, that of having a model that does not bring in anything in finance, but does a lot in images. We also note that Carlos Tavares says no to pleasure models after having participated in the renaissance project of the Alpine A110 when he was at Renault!
We are also surprised at other choices in the group. We learned this week via Challenges that Citroën intends to import into Europe only 15,000 to 20,000 copies per year of its new wagon, only manufactured in China! It’s even worse with the DS9, the top-of-the-range sedan, of which only a few thousand copies are likely to find buyers! If DS has its niche flag bearer, why not Peugeot?