Autocar confidential – Peugeot, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo
This week’s gossip from the automotive industry has news of Peugeot’s reluctance to start a premium sub-brand, small premium Volvos, and a price rise in the wake of dieselgate.
Peugeot for the masses
Peugeot will not launch a premium sister brand equivalent to Citroën’s DS. “We don’t have plans to create a premium brand,” said Peugeot product director Laurent Blanchet. “Peugeot is, and always will be, a generalist brand, but always with this intention to move up and target Volkswagen.”
Read more: Peugeot 308 GTi long-term test review, Peugeot 3008 GT
Small premium Volvos have no future
Despite the popularity of small premium cars, Volvo has no intention of producing anything smaller than the 40-series. “It’s hard to make money in that segment right now,” said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson. “Of course we could downsize [our CMA architecture], but that’s not on the agenda.”
The C30, Volvo’s previous small model, was a hit with owners but sold just 200,000 units worldwide during its eight-year lifespan and never came close to the popularity of rivals such as the Mini.
Read more: Volvo S90 and V90 R-Design models unveiled, 2016 Volvo V40 Cross Country D2 review
No R8 rival from BMW
BMW has rejected claims it needs a mid-engined super-sports car to rival the R8 at the top of its range.
“Other companies may need one for strategic reasons, to prove they can make something truly ‘sporty’, but we don’t,” said M division CEO Frank van Meel. “Our business is elsewhere.”
Read more: BMW i8 long-term test review, Audi R8 review
Dieselgate causes rising car prices
Car companies face a challenge to explain to customers why the cost of cars has risen in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, according to BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson.
“When regulations forced up costs it could be justified by the economy gains, but we need to explain carefully why NOx and other improvements are beneficial, because there will be no immediate financial payback to measure.”
Read more: Entire former VW board may be investigated, Volkswagen wants to sell three million electric cars by 2025