Peugeot had record global sales last year of more than 2 million units and nearly half of the volume came from Europe, where the PSA Group brand grew by 7 percent in an overall market that rose by 3.3 percent. The man leading the way is Jean-Philippe Imparato, who has overseen the successful launches of the 3008 and 5008 crossovers since being named CEO of the Peugeot brand in September 2016. Imparato told Automotive News Europe Correspondent Peter Sigal how he plans to maintain Peugeot's momentum despite challenges such as slumping diesel sales in Europe.
How is Peugeot managing the shift from diesels to electrified models?
This transition is stressful for everyone, but we will cope with it in a simple way. Starting in 2019, each vehicle we launch will have an electrified version, including the new 308. That means that customers will always protect their residual values when they buy a Peugeot, because it [an electrified variant] will be part of the brand's core lineup. Depending on local regulations, depending on your feeling, depending on your business, you will choose the powertrain that fits best. Paris is not London, London is not Shanghai. Nobody knows how the transition to electrified models will play out, that is why we have to have a global answer.
You will probably need to sell a certain percentage of low- or zero-emissions vehicles to meet the EU's CO2 targets. If you let the customers choose their drivetrains, however, how can you be sure Peugeot will reach its goal?
We are not saying we will sell "outlaw" high-emissions engines and will try to compensate by selling "good cop" low-emissions cars. We will be compliant by model family in 2020. That is clear, because I don't want to pay 1 euro in penalties. It would be absolutely unbearable. Some automakers could choose to lose 30,000 euros per electric vehicle [to cancel out the effects of higher CO2 cars and still meet their target]. We don't want to do that. For example, we launched the 508 with a 225-hp gasoline engine, which emits 130 grams per kilometer of CO2. The diesel has 130 hp and emits 95g/km of CO2. Starting next year, we will have plug-in hybrids and zero-emissions vehicles on the platform. When we forecast our mix per model family we are compliant. We have worked for six years to meet these regulations. We will do so even if customers choose the powertrain.
Does that mean for the 508, for example, you will sell low- and zero-emissions vehicles to fleet buyers?
Yes. I sell 50 percent of my vehicles in the business-to-business channels. We are forecasting 30 percent plug-in hybrid sales for the 508, provided the total cost of ownership [TCO] meets our customers' requirements. The TCO must be in the same tranche when comparing a plug-in hybrid and a diesel, for example. We think that 5 percent to 10 percent of sales will be electric and 20 percent to 30 percent plug-in hybrids. It's totally feasible.