When it arrives next year, the Peugeot 208 will usher in a new design era for the brand, a top executive said.
"The new Peugeot 208 will be a break from the past," Jean-Pierre Ploue, director of design at Peugeot parent PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, told Automotive News Europe in a phone interview.
He said that the 208 and each model after it "must be homogenous. Each model must feed the brand and be part of the family."
Peugeot is following a philosophy already used by Volkswagen brand and Opel/Vauxhall. The French automaker believes that by having a more consistent look Peugeot will be able to enhance its brand image and appeal to a wider audience, Ploue said.
"The 208 must be able to be sold worldwide in Asia, South America, or wherever, as well as in Europe," Ploue said. "It must be easily recognized as being distinctly Peugeot everywhere in the world."
The 208, which is expected to be displayed at the Geneva auto show in March 2012, is the first Peugeot production model to debut since PSA appointed Ploue head of design for both brands in 2009. Prior to that, Ploue was head of design at Citroen, a job he started in 2000.
Peugeot has not yet revealed the 208's final look, but Ploue said the SR1 concept that Peugeot unveiled at the 2010 Geneva show hints at the design philosophy the 208 and other Peugeot models will follow.
"You see a little bit of what (the new style) will be in the SR1 concept car," Ploue said. "The SR1 represents what we want to do, with an athletic, pure, elegant, and precise design with much allure."
The 208 will compete against the Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta. Peugeot has not yet announced where it will produce the 208. The 207 is manufactured at plants in France, Spain, Slovakia, Argentina, Brazil and China. The subcompact is Peugeot's most popular model in Europe with sales of 119,146 units through April, according to data from market researcher JATO Dynamics.