Future Peugeot models will take the lead from the new 408 in “challenging conventional silhouettes”, according to the firm’s head designer, Matthias Hossann.

Speaking to Autocar at the Paris motor show, Hossann highlighted the benefits of the Peugeot 408’s unconventional silhouette – namely that its raised ride height and spacious greenhouse boost practicality, while its rakish roofline promotes efficiency – and said future models will follow suit.

“It shows the inventiveness of the brand, this new typology of product, he said. It’s not a sedan any more, it’s not an SUV. It’s something else – a new species, a new breed of car, and I think when you see it physically, you can really appreciate these new proportions.”

Asked why it is important to rethink traditional vehicle categorisations, Hossann said “every product we are designing needs to be a worldwide product”, highlighting that China – a key focus market for Peugeot – is no longer the saloon car stronghold it once was, such is the global trend towards SUVs.

He said the current Peugeot 508, launched in 2018, was the first step on the path towards “the evolution of the traditional sedan car”, with its coupé-style silhouette and sporting focus.

When it came to designing the 408, Peugeot’s designers found “there was white space between the traditional sedan and the SUV, and in this white space we didn’t want to just do a sedan crossover with some plastic parts on it, we really wanted to do something else”.

The 408 is part of a move to cater to a target market that, claims Hossann, wants “a new experience” when they buy a car.

“We don’t want to be stuck to traditional sedans or SUVs any more,” he said. We want to push for the future of Peugeot, so every time we design a new car, we want to challenge the conservative silhouettes that we are used to.”

He stopped short of confirming whether each future model would straddle multiple segments as obviously as the 408, but emphasised the ‘non-traditional’ ethos behind the design of each current Peugeot, and said it will be emphasised in the next generation of cars.

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