While the Geneva Motor Show will soon open its doors, with one of the flagship models presented, the new Peugeot 508 sedan , let us pause for a moment on the product strategy of the manufacturer. In particular to explain or argue his choices. An argument provided by Aude Collerie Borely , product manager Peugeot.

One of the key issues of the launch of the new sedan seems to be able to cope with the rise of SUV. The other to differentiate itself within the segment.

Indeed, the battle between sedans and SUV rages. SUVs now account for more than a third of all new car registrations in Europe. The segment’s market share even reached 37% in France according to the latest figures from the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA).

And it does not matter if SUVs seem more fond of diesel than other types of vehicles. Couple story will say some. And even if aerodynamics does not plead in favor of SUVs. Increasing their consumption. This is all the more important as the taxation of diesel fuel becomes a strong argument in the purchase decision.

On the sedan side, the market share dropped to 49% in France in early 2018, compared to 52% in early 2017 . The segment remains strongly dominated by traditional four-door sedans with large trunk, mostly marketed by the German manufacturers.

In order to outdo the SUVs, PSA chose (or was forced to?) To change the silhouette and dimensions of the 508. Objective: stand out in the segment already competing with SUV. In short: compete with its internal competitors in the segment, beyond competing with SUVs.

Some analysts in the automotive industry, including those of IHS Markit, American business information company , believe that brands are forced to offer large saloons looking more attractive in terms of design or technology. PSA seems to bet on the design for the 508, while Mercedes will have put forward the technology with the class C.

While the restyling of the Mercedes C-Class is very discreet , the German group relying on the timeless character of its sedans to continue, the product strategy of Peugeot is quite different.

“We were keen to return to this rather difficult segment for a general brand since it is clearly pre-empted by the German premium brands , ” says Borely’s Aude Collerie preamble. Adding that PSA ” wanted to create surprise with a radically different proposal from the previous generation. ”

A strategy that ultimately resulted in a fastback sedan with a hatchback instead of the good old trunk, lower and shorter than 8 cm, to make it more maneuverable in the city and in car parks.

Like Cleopatra, the 508 also wants to distinguish itself via its profile, offering a hood nose like Chevrolet Camaro. All complemented with high-end finish and vertical light strips so you can be spotted from afar.

” The segment of traditional four-door sedans is rather in decline, and conversely we have a sub-segment in full progression, that of sedans more compact, more dynamic,” argues again Aude Collerie de Borely.

According to IHS data, European sales of traditional sedans are expected to fall by 8.2% in 2018, while those of coupe sedans are expected to grow by 14.4%. A hell of a bet far from being successful for Peugeot and its new 508.

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