301 saloon heralds new chapter for Peugeot

 

A new Peugeot, the 301, promises to be one of the most significant models in the venerable French car-maker's history. It is the first of a separate range of cars designed to meet the specific requirements of customers in emerging economies but also marks a big change in the system of model names Peugeot has used for over eighty years.

The Peugeot 301, a compact saloon, is the first of a range of “01” badged cars, which, as the company puts it “will represent the marque's value for money models in their markets that offer status that fulfils customer expectations centred around practicality of use, versatility and vehicle requirements.” Built in Spain, the 301 will be sold from November in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Peugeot has, to some extent already operated a policy of separate model ranges for different world regions by continuing local production of models such as the 504 long after they disappeared from Western European markets. The 01 cars, though, far from being Europe's cast-offs, will be modern products purpose-developed to meet the specific needs and tastes of increasingly affluent and demanding emerging market customers. That means the 301 is a saloon, rather than having the hatchback body favoured in Western Europe, and is designed to operate in very hot and cold climates, as well as to deal with poor roads. On the other hand, the new car has sharp fresh styling, with a nose that strongly resembles that of the bigger 508, and incorporates modern safety technology such as ABS braking and ESP. Early pictures show a plush-looking cabin that wouldn't look out of place in any other Peugeot, and the company promises a full range of modern comfort equipment such as Bluetooth, remote boot opening and a parking assistance system. The 301's engines, too, will be bang up-to-date; one option will be the brand new 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine that has just appeared in the new 208, while the other choices are 1.6-litre petrols and diesels.

The 301 also marks the first big shift in Peugeot's model-naming policy for over eighty years. Ever since the 201 was introduced in 1929, the company has followed a system of three-digit model designations in which the first digit indicates the size of the car, the second digit is always a zero and the third digit is used to indicate a generation change. The system indicates, for example, that the 208 is the successor to the 207 and slots into the range below the bigger 308 and 508. There have been one or two adaptations such as the introduction of “double-zero” names for MPVs and SUVs such as the 3008, 4007 and 5008, and the out-of-sequence 309, an “orphan” model originally developed as a Talbot, but the system has always remained unchanged in its essentials.

In future, the first digit will continue to indicate the size of the car and the second digit will still be a zero (double zeroes will also continue) but the third digit will no longer change when a new car is introduced. Instead, Peugeot's mainstream European models will always be “08s” while emerging market models will always be “01s”. For the first time in Peugeot's history, model names will be carried over between successive generations of cars in a particular segment; under the old system, today's 208 would have been succeeded by a 209 but now its successor will be another 208.

It's not hard to see why Peugeot has made the change. The old system worked well when the company's line-up consisted of just two or three cars with very long replacement cycles but with a greatly expanded range and shorter intervals between model changes it was probably getting harder for customers to keep up and the number of “X0X” combinations was in any case in danger of being exhausted. Twenty or thirty years ago, car companies liked to emphasise the arrival of a new car with a new name, but these days they prefer to carry over familiar model designations, rather than having to investing heavily in promoting new ones from scratch, an advantage denied to Peugeot under its old naming system.

Some questions thrown up by the arrival of the 301 remain to be answered. Two of the world's most important and fast-growing car markets, China and India, are not on the list of countries in which the 301 will initially be sold. Will Peugeot sell the 01 models in these countries or the 08 cars – or perhaps even come up with further parallel ranges? The company already has one China-specific model, the 408, which might perhaps under the new system be more logically badged as a 401. The 301 is also unusual in being a car aimed at emerging markets produced in (expensive) Western Europe, and it will be interesting to see whether Peugeot expands production to cheaper locations in the future. It's not yet clear how “territorially exclusive” the 01 and 08 ranges will be; will they be kept strictly apart, or will some cars bleed across between regions? Better off customers in countries where the 01 cars are sold might still have an appetite for the 08 cars, and we know that many Western European customers like the value for money provided by slightly more basic models originally developed for other markets when they have the chance to buy them.

The 301 also highlights differences in strategic direction between Peugeot and its competitors. Ford, for example, is squeezing out regional variations in model ranges in favour of a “One Ford” policy under which as far as possible the same cars are sold worldwide. On the other hand, some manufacturers have developed completely separate brands to tackle the markets in which the 301 will be sold. Peugeot's approach falls somewhere between the two, and in certain respects resembles the decision of its sister brand Citroën to develop two separate lines of cars, the mainstream “C” models and the “premium” DS range – albeit for a different purpose.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

    £60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

    Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

    £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

    AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

    £600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

    E-Commerce Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial