The Peugeot 1007 was an embarrassing commercial failure, but could the story have played out differently? Driven to Write gets the popcorn out.
In the 1998 movie of the same name, the sliding doors of the underground train were a plot device or portal – a form of magical thinking which suggested that one’s life could turn on a sixpence. On one hand: lose job, meet that nice John Hannah on the tube. Romance ensues, (as do more plot devices), get run over by car. (I haven’t seen the film, so I’m winging it here).
A lot can happen in two years, and since we’re examining the fortunes of PSA’s Distinctive Series, it might be useful to revisit this piece from Driven to Write’s early days to see what we thought then.
Is Citroën’s ‘Distinctive Series’ the final frontier for the legendary French automaker? [First published 16 January 2014].
Lately, France’s PSA group became the automotive Blanche DuBois – lurching with mounting desperation from one apparent suitor to another following the collapse of their core market. Yet amidst the gloom, a hitherto unimaginable success story seems to have unfolded, involving the marque most analysts had written off as beyond saving. Could Citroën, PSA’s trouble child since 1976, belatedly, and against all odds, find itself at the forefront of a marketing coup?
Sometimes it pays to be brave, sometimes it doesn’t. Better luck next time, Renault.
By the final decade of the 20th century, motor manufacturers, having established that engineering integrity would only take them so far in the quest for market leadership, began to realise that the answer to their prayers lay within the spreadsheets and focus groups of the product planning departments. In a mature market, largely populated by feckless new money garnered from illusory internet start-ups and awash with cheap credit, the differentiator between the automotive carnivores and their prey would be defined by one word: Segmentation. Entire departments sprang up in such demographically significant hotspots as Miami, London and Southern California, all tasked with seeking that elusive niche that would give the parent company a jump on their rivals.