Peugeot is currently making a big song and dance about celebrating 200 years of its brand. Every employee of the French car giant is currently tucking into jelly and ice cream, before taking part in a jolly game of pass-the-parcel. Then to top it all off, the senior management team will be indulging themselves in a game of charades, very much in the style of the classic TV game show Give Us a Clue. Well here’s one for you Peugeot, see if you can work out what I’m trying to say here. If you can imagine that I’m doing it in the style of Lionel Blair, that would be fantastic. Answer will be found on my at the end of this blog.
OK, five words…
First word rhymes with ‘shop’. Second word rhymes with ‘reducing’. Third word is what the Americans refer to as ‘trash’. Fourth word is the opposite of ‘cold’; and the final word is something you batten down if you happen to be caught in a tornado.
Got it yet? Well let me explain.
I’ve just read about and seen the pictures of the new 308 GT THP 200. Yet another in a long line of so called ‘sporty’ cars that have rolled off your production line in recent years. As if the 207 S16 wasn’t enough, you’ve now presented us with another pastiche of a sporty hatch. Please stop it. Stop it immediately. It is the best for both us.
The thing is, you’ve actually made a rod for your own back. In the 205 GTi and 306 GTi-6 you arguably gave the world two of the greatest hot hatches we’ve ever had. Many would argue, with a certain degree of merit, that each model defined their respective decades. OK, so the MKII Golf GTi might be just ahead of the legendary Pug, but we’re splitting hairs. Fact is, you hold a very strong place in the heart of petrolheads everywhere and each one is eternally grateful for what you delivered. But each time you unveil another less than exciting sporty hatchback, a little piece of your heritage falls away. The Lion’s roar drops a few decibels. And that’s sad.
Perhaps my disappointment is best summarised within your own comment that accompanies this latest model. And I quote;
Modern, sporty and fuel efficient the, Peugeot 308 GT THP 200 is a sporty hatchback for a new era: enjoyable for day-to-day driving, equally at home transporting the family, but with the performance to put a smile on the driver’s face when the opportunity arises.
Fuel efficient? New era? Day-to-day driving? Transporting the family? Smile on the driver’s face? Really Peugeot, is that enough? We want to be wowed, enthralled, delighted, exhilarated and turned on. Something you haven’t done for a decade or so. Our eyes have been wandering ever since. For outright thrills we look longingly at the current crop of fast Renaults. Whilst for gaelic flair and individuality, we take a glance at what the chaps at Citroen are doing. In both instances, they out perform you and indeed I can’t think of a single car in your current line-up that I’d put above anything your French counterparts offer.
I’m sure the bright black carbon-style insert under the front bumper looks OK. I’m equally sure the twin chrome exhaust pipes will convince some people that the the 308 GT 200 is a sporty little devil. And the GT badges on the side and the rear of the body are obviously going to ensure I get maximum enjoyment out of my favourite hairpin on the local B-road. But the sheer irrelevance of all this is heightened by the way you go into even more detail about the interior brightness, elegant fascia panel and distinctive acoustics. Come clean Peugeot, this isn’t really sporty is it?
Fair enough Peugeot, I’m sure my lone voice isn’t going to cause so much of a mere ripple in your boardroom. But can I ask just one thing. If you’re going to continue churning out worthy, value-driven family motors, just come clean and tell us. Then forget about sporty cars once and for all. You’ll feel all the better for it. I promise.
Oh and by the way, the answer to the little game of charades? Stop producing rubbish hot hatches. Thank you.