The Peugeot 309 is, I feel, a European equivalent of the kind of anonymous car GM and Ford made in the 1970sand 1980s What is there like it today?
What makes the 309 such an oddity is that it should have been a Talbot but had to use Peugeot components and ended as a Peugeot anyway. Its development team had roots in the Rootes group and Simca: British and French. The stylists in Coventry and engineers at the former Simca centre at Poissy were forced to
absorb PSA values and also to make Peugeot bits into Talbot bits and turn them back again. It must have been disorientating.
With the dramatic failure of the Talbot Tagora and the decline of Horizon sales, it became apparent to Peugeot that nobody needed Talbot. However, much work had been done on what would have been C28 for Talbot so instead of canning the car, Peugeot directed the Talbot team to rePeugeot the car and label it 309.
Although the front end of the 309 is mostly Peugeot 205, the engines are a ragbag of Simca, Talbot and Peugeot units. It has a wheelbase that’s about 6cm longer than a 205 which means it was a slightly bigger 3 or 5 door car with a different set of engines and an interior not noticeably nicer than a 205. Check out the carry-over bits jammed onto the rear door skin.
When the 309 appeared in showrooms it sat next to the 205 and 305. The cheapest 205 cost £4745. The 305 cost £7495 and the 309 cost £5545. The 205 had a 2418 mm wheelbase; the 305 had 2620 mm and the 309 had 2470 mm. So, the numbering and pricing didn’t really align.
Essentially, the 309 existed as a de-Peugeot re-Peugeot orphan from a cancelled range of cars that never made sense. Yet it sold well anyway. So much for marketing nostrums.