Peugeot has appointed Gilles Vidal as its new Design Director from 4 January 2010. Vidal, 37, who joined the French manufacturer in 1996, has been working on a new identity for Peugeot, which is expected to be unveiled in January.

From the early 1950s, Peugeot enjoyed a very successful partnership with the Italian design house Pininfarina, which lasted several decades. When the company started taking the styling of more of its cars in-house in the 1980s, these designs initially showed much the same flair as Pininfarina's efforts, but Peugeot's most recent models just don't seem to have the same zip as the old ones. The company's distinctive corporate “face”, built around the trapezoidal headlamp shapes, first seen on the 504 saloon of 1968, has also been diluted, so there's a lot riding on the launch of Peugeot's new identity next month. One encouraging precedent; Peugeot's corporate stablemate Citroën seems to have recovered its styling touch after a similar loss of form.

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