Blog : Is the Lion an endangered species?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Mike Humble

Another death of a dealer - Our local PSA showroom is to close next week (picture: West Sussex County Times)
Another death of a dealer – Our local PSA showroom is to close next week (picture: West Sussex County Times)

Only yesterday as I was trudging round the shops in that post Christmas bargain search, another sign of the ‘motoring times’ came to remind me about the critically parlous state of the car game. Recently, I posted a feature about our local Vauxhall agent hitting the skids, but within a few depressing months, it’s happened again – my local Peugeot dealer is closing. Should I be surprised?

The local paper sadly broadcasted the fact that our local Citroen and Peugeot dealer is closing at the end of December with the loss of 30-plus jobs. What a kick in the teeth for the handful of staff who joined them from the aforementioned failed Vauxhall enterprise – and equally depressing considering the site was the subject of a management buy out only a couple of months earlier. This was a big site comprising of a large used car pitch, two glass houses and a busy Shell petrol station, all situated on a busy roundabout next door to a decently sized retail park – in an affluent market town.

So far as location is concerned, its virtually perfect in every way – so how could this place fail and is there a bigger picture to be viewed here? Well, Citroen has seemingly found its mojo once again and while the DS range seems to be attracting a fair bit of interest. No one seems to care about Renault, but the Dacia brand will uplift its alarming loss of sales.

But what of Peugeot these days? exactly who buys them and who remotely understands their confusing cluttered range? Generally nobody. Which is why its is in a bit of tizz somewhat?

Slowly but surely, Peugeot dealers have been dropping off like autumn leaves. It wasn’t always this way. Peugeot’s range was once easy to understand, fairly reliable, sometimes stylish, popular and a cut above other Gallic brands. And the of course, there was the ‘cinq effect’ of almost guaranteeing success by making the last digit a five. Customers once beat down the showroom doors for the 205, 305, 405 and 505. But it seems Peugeot has endured an uphill battle since the death of the 406.

Following the deletion of the hugely popular 406, Peugeot have slowly started to sink.
Following the deletion of the hugely popular 406 way back in 2003, Peugeot slowly started to sink.

This Pug was possibly the best riding/handling saloon car of its generation – and I have owned a driven a good few examples. They never failed to leave a lasting impression of soothing smoothness that made journeys along endless black ribbons of tarmac enjoyable and to be encouraged. Its replacement, the 407, looked futuristic in comparison yet downright ugly to most people. If you want French with slightly bonkers looks allied with a modern take on form and function that all just simply works – Citroen is everything one requires.

Even in France, Peugeot is in a pickle. Parent company PSA feels like British Leyland was in the mid- to late-1970s – a sprawling money-hungry animal with a ferocious appetite for ready cash and no obvious direction towards its future or survival. As mentioned, the dealers are fading away in the UK – my old employer binned its Pug showroom in 2007, a while before the recession, blaming a confusing range and a disinterested public as the main reasons. Yet, now it seems all Peugeot do to stem flagging sales and public apathy is bung another ‘0’ on the badge – like 3008 or 2008.

And of course, add nought and nought together and what do you get? Nothing!

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

118 Comments

  1. The styling of most French cars nowadays has been quite ugly I have found. It started with the 307 and C5 for me, bulky, ill proportioned blobs with little form or shape, ropey electrics and a blue-rinser image has permanently erased them from my short listings when I come to buy a new car nowadays… Shame.

  2. PSA sales were down nearly 20% in November, 23% this year while Renaults have fallen by 33.5% this year, I’m stunned there are any dealers left at all.

  3. 406 uninspiring? It was one of the best looking cars in its class at the time and is understatement made it popular amongst both fleet and personal market, and on top of that it was probably only second to the mondeo in ride quality.

    Pug has lost its way since then though. The quality of the build has dropped off making them worse than its gallic rivals, when it use to be a cut above, and the styling? Well it looks like they have had more than the ugly stick been shaked at them.

    However in deepest Essex, there still seems to be tons of them on the road and Toomey’s the local dealer seemed to be selling them like hot cakes – especially the disgrace that is the 3008 – why is my question, just why?

  4. But – In their home country PSA – Peugeot/Citroen still claim over 30% of the market – way more than Renault with the new 208 in number one spot by a huge margin. Not characteristics of British Leyland during their decline. Bad times for the company undoubtedly, but reports of their (impending) death are (probably)greatly exaggerated. Same applies to Renault. Sales are well down, but in 2011 they, along with VW of course, where the only non-premium European manufacturers to make a profit. Helped by the Dacia sub-brand and their relaitionship with Nissan. Just because they withdrew sales of some models from a marginal right hand drive market doesnt mean they are doomed.

  5. Straight away I can bring to mind a local Peugeot dealer which has ceased to be.

    Going back to the early nineties and my 205 XS was cool, a must have. The Peugeot image in general was good. Now, however, I can’t bring to mind a Peugeot which I would really want. Having said that I think the 208 (I think I’ve got the number right but I mean the ‘new 205’)is an improvement, styling wise, on its immediate predecessor.

  6. With the exception of the RCZ, most Peugeots since the demise of the 106 and 206 seem to lack flair and individuality and look rather like many other cars on the road. Indeed it was only last week that I learnt there had been the introduction of the 208! Even then I was shocked at how big and baulky the spiritual successor to the 205 has become. This highlights how forgettable and samey Peugeots are becoming, whereas Citroen’s all-important small and medium sized cars have maintained their spark and individuality since the late 1990s.

    Also the GTi variants no longer wreak of excitement and athletic nimbleness. Instead the engines need forced induction at 2-litres to deliver noticeable rather than scintillating performance. This mirrors the mistakes Volkswagen made with the Mark 3 and Mark 4 Golf GTi, but who re-invented their driving appeal through the Mark 5.

    Peugeot is still a great name to work with and I still remember how fluid a 306 1.6 Meridien felt through the twisty bits back in the late 1990s, and how lively its engine felt. What Peugeot needs to do is produce cars that capitalise on their driving flair at every level and have style and youthful appeal in the looks department. Look at cars such as the 106, 205, 306, 405 and pre-facelift 406, for example. Peugeots are simply too grown up and predictable these days.

    Is it really less than ten years ago when we were all enjoying their television commercial where some hip guys in Bollywood beated the body of an old Hindustan Ambassador with hammers to enable it to resemble a 206?

  7. It seems to me Peugoets were very popular through the 80’s. It started with the trendy 205 and the attractive 405. Prior to that there range was dull, old fashioned and confusing (have we come full circle?).
    They went big time in the “must have” stakes with the 206 and the 406. 306 was a little dull but the 307 was a huge seller. With this range in the early 2000’s there seemed to be Peugeots everywhere. They were cool, trendy and bought by young (and old).
    Since then its gone downhill. They replaced these cars with pumped up, fish-faced ugly cars which I think turned away buyers in their droves.
    Instead of bringing in something new with style they just bloated out the old designs (and put a trout-pout on them).
    As as for that awful ad for the 308 with fake american accents (noir…..). Cheesy, tacky and off-putting.

  8. A bad combination of
    1) A reputation for unreliability, dodgy electrics etc put off the buyers looking for a boring runaround
    2) Dodgy styling, that hideous mouth on the 207, 308 and 407, and dumpy rear styling
    3) The loss of the brilliant handling and ride that PSA cars used to have (205, 306, ZX etc), probably caused by dropping the clever IRS, and replacing it with a cheaper torsion beam.
    4) The collapse in the European market for mass market mid priced cars, Peugeots are neither cheap nor aspirational
    5) Maybe UK sales were hit by the closure of Ryton? That UK factory maybe helped generate a few ‘patriotic sales’?

  9. Very interesting comments from Mike. I agree that the 406 was a more appealing car than the successor 407, even though I owned neither.

    On a separate note, I heard a radio advert in the North East saying that the Springfield Honda dealers in Sunderland Newcastle & Durham are being renamed HONDA Sunderland, HONDA Newcastle, HONDA Durham – not sure if Springfield have been taken over… it does make you wary when long established dealers are changing franchises or names frequently.

  10. I broke down in my 520I outside this place this month..

    Sad sight really but a fair amount of people having a look at the cars.

  11. Peugeot need to follow Citroen’s example and produce a DS range of cars, ie. like others copy BMW, MINI, Audi, Mercedes, etc…..these are the type of cars with reliability and image that car buyers in Western Europe want to buy and that can still be built in high wage economy countries.

  12. [scandalous]Maybe your local benefits agency is reassessing all it’s Motabilty eligible claimants Mike?[/scandalous]

    Go round conting the pedals on any 3 years or younger Peugeots if you don’t believe me.

  13. I think people were willing to overlook the unreliability of Peugeots because the cars looked like hot hatches and sport saloons and actually drove like it. Nowadays, Peugeots are not particularly exceptional for their good looks and their handling. Alfa Romeo arguably has a similar problem. The formerly staid, unremarkable German, American, British, Japanese and Korean brands now excel at these things while charging hefty premiums and leveraging global economies of scale. People think of hot VWs and Fords when they think of hot hatches and Qashqais and tall Hyundai-Kia products when they think of crossovers. If you want an aspirational small car, you need not look further than the smallest products of Audi and BMW. British-designed cars are now the style leaders.

    The market has simply changed and Peugeot has failed to keep up. Renault and Citroen are holding on with their interesting designs and slick small cars. They’ve effectively usurped Peugeot at this point.

    PSA has the additional problem of being way too Eurocentric to survive in a world where all of Europe is declining. It does have successful Chinese and Brazilian divisions, but these are small fry compared to the behemoths of GM and VW. In Europe, PSA also has the problem of Peugeot duplicating everything Citroen has. A thriving company can support multiple brands. PSA isn’t exactly thriving right now.

    The 508 is a good start in the right direction. It looks mature, premium and a world away from the infantile, bulbous and tacky designs of still-extant Peugeots. It remains to be seen if it will be enough. The next-generation 308 will be the make-or-break model. It doesn’t need to beat the Golf, just come damn close to it and get on the radars of compact car buyers in Europe and Asia. Another light update like the current model will not do.

  14. I owned a 1971 Peugeot 304, a ’74 204 and finally 1976 304.
    They were solid reliable, quality cars with great ride and roadholding, all bought from W Andrews a small and very long standing family Peugeot dealership near Bungay Suffolk.

    When Peugeot took over Citroen and in 1978 Chrysler Europe, the company became a mass market producer and quality suffered enormously. They also dispensed with their small family owned dealers in favour of large slick but faceless dealerships.

    At that point I changed to buying VW and BMW cars in order to get the quality that I previously experienced with Peugeot. My last Peugeot was a 405, comfortable but nothing but trouble, a real pity!

  15. But the 508 is so bland! It looks like a manufacturer’s ideal “world car”, a design so bland and anemic as to offend no one.

    The 405 was a nice car, spoiled only by a long arm / short leg driving position and a truly gutless atmospheric diesel option.
    The 406 was a huge improvement and probably as good as they were ever likely to get. Handsome, good to drive, decent estate, spacious and well made.
    The 407 brought really striking styling, a huge improvement on the bloated 307, but definitely a Marmite car. Unfortunately, it brought back the gorilla friendly driving position of the 405, which it now shared with it’s ugly sister, the Citroen C5. It also lost its true reason for being in that it lost the proper estate variant and gave us the next to useless 407 estate.
    The 408 seems like a re-skinned 407 with styling that Marks & Spencers would be proud of. A bit like the automotive equivalent of Y Fronts. In plain white. It’s the car your mum would buy for you!

  16. The whole generation of 106/206/306 and 406 were their last best efforts IMO. They have turned into bloated flimsy looking things that are neither cheap, reliable or in any way aspirational. When I was a kid, the 405 was a very respected car and nicely styled to have it’s own unique contribution to the fleet market. I wouldnt even consider visiting a Peugeot showroom these days, and each generation is worse than the last.

  17. Having driven current gen 207’s and their Bipper/Partner vans I can see why. The diesel engines are poor to be honest, with quite a lot of reliability issues, and the 207 isn’t that a tidy handler either, unlike Pugs of old

  18. I know this site well, having bought a used ZR and a used ZT from them. It’s in a great position, as you say, so it’s hard to see how it could fail – except if the cars are no good!

    Now, wouldn’t it be great if an MG dealer opened there next year! We need one around here – the nearest one at the moment is in Hove which takes ages to get to. In this location – half way between London and the south coast on the A24 – it would serve a wide area that has no other MG dealer.

  19. Is it really a surprise when the cars since the 306/406 have all been hideous, unreliable, poor value, expensive, poorly equipped and irrelevant. Who would really choose a 308 ahead of a Golf or Focus? The RCZ looks all right but doesnt really compete with the TT or Scirrocco. Dont even talk to me about the 3008 which has to be the ugliest specimen. Despite the height of the thing I found it difficult to get into because of the small doors. Renaults are even worse. Since the fat-arsed Megane they have also lost their way. The only cars I ever see broken down seem to be Lagunas or Clios. The French industry has been overprotected by its govt over the years and payback time is approaching fast and they are left with cars that are of little interest to UK buyers.

  20. Cars like the 205, 306, 405 and 406 were genuine class leaders. Comfortable, good to drive and appealing. Since then, it’s been downhill. They produce a range of also rans sold largely to rental fleets and (as already mentioned) motability. Whilst the cars before that were uninspiring, they were actually robust, quality products. For evidence of this just see the long production lives and popularity of the likes of the 404 and 504 in South America and Africa. Today’s Peugeots seem to marry the flimsyness that had set in with some of the better products without any of their brio. With the possible exception of the RCZ which appeals on style why would you buy a Peugeot? It’s a struggle to see what they stand for.

  21. Overall, I just can’t visualise the various Peugeot models, numbers the way I used to. I suspect, however, that this is new cars in general as opposed to Peugeot in particular.

    I’m sure that in years gone by individual cars, models seemed more distinctive, more recognisable by the general public as well as the enthusiast. Witness statements would have read “he was driving a Cortina” as opposed to “he got away in some kind of Hyundai or Kia”

    Or has my interest in NEW cars just simply declined?

  22. I worked for PSA – owned retail arm, Robins and Day from 1998 until 2008, and witnessed them lose an empire first hand. As with many things, there were a few factors combining to make one large problem:

    March 1999 saw the replacement of the legendary XUDT power plant by the massively underwhelming HDI common rail. Limp and unreliable, it was at this point Peugeots Diesel supremacy within Europe was handed on a plate to VW and their excellent PD units.

    206 and 406 ran 2 years beyond their sell by date, by which time their competitors had stolen market share from under their nose.

    307 was spectacularly badly built and unreliable – generations of loyal 205/305/306 punters were lost in their thousands to the likes of Skoda.

    A competitor to the Scenic/Zafira/C-Max etc was never thought important to Peugeot, and we sat and watched the Citroen Lads firing out Picasso’s like shelling peas.

    The 1007 – no further comment needed.

    Peugeot handing all their minicab users over to Skoda once the 407 was launched (tiny boot, uncomfortable driving position, unreliable)

    On top of this, there was a feeling until recently inside PSA that Peugeot
    was semi-premium (more VW than Vauxhall) and should be priced
    accordingly.

    I had some great years at Peugeot, but looking at it now, oh so sad – it really is.

  23. 208 may help things a bit but french cars have a bad reputation for reliability.I think they have no future in the uk.The 307 was the end for peugeot it is unreliable and ugly.The best current peugeot is the 107,Peugeot had better make a good job of it’s replacement or it could be the end.That goes for citroen too.

  24. Interesting how many of Peugeot’s more successful cars employed the talents of a certain Pinninfarina – or in the case of the 205 at least had Pinnin influence. Maybe this could be a way back to better fortunes – decent styling! Otherwise, I had a 307 for a while as a company car – loved it, and had no problems with it whatsoever. It drove extremely well, was comfortable, and to my eyes, looked good. I’ve driven it’s successor, and fugly looks apart, still found it a good steer. So Pug, (like FIAT and Alfa Romeo for that matter) employ one of the following:- ItalDesign, Bertone or Pinninfarina, and get them to design you some beautiful cars again…..

  25. People used to moan about Rovers being unreliable, but they’re saints compared to the overly complex products of PSA and Renault, and the massive repair costs they incur when they often go wrong. Also the lack of quality of cars such as the Renault Megane shows when a survey revealed on in three fail their first MOT, compared with an average of one in ten.

  26. Poor reliability/design is killing the Pug.

    Until recently a cousin worked at a multi-franchise dealer, he said Peugeots were by far the least reliable of all the brands they offered, I was shocked by the warranty claims he spoke about.

    A friend recently had to spend over 2k on his 308 HDI engine at just 60,000 miles.

    Also, sit in a 208 – who on earth designed that in-cohesive facia?

  27. Having owned a red D reg 205 and N reg 405, both of which were 80s carsI can assure you that when their time to depart this life to become baked bean tins I had a tear in my eye, both were terrific, especially the 205. Consequently I would have loved to have replaced them with Peugeots again, however, apart from the 406, I have never truely fancied any of the recent models.

    The range used to enjoy the reputation of being drivers cars but since the first Mondeo arrived Ford has taken that from them; they’re French so their reliability record is probably justified and the look of their car in the 90s seemed to be photocopies of one another, especially the front end. Seems they have no identity and are stuck as mainstream when people want premium, Audi, BMW etc.

    If they want to get back on the right road inspirational new models are a must, cant see it happening I’m afraid, shame really.

    Must confess that the thought of losing Peugeot from these shores would mean nothing to me at all, however, remembering my old cars did, and thats what Peugeot have got to get back to, if only it was that easy.

  28. As a long term Peugeot driver ( 2x 405, 2x 406, 1x 206, 2 x 407) I have to agree with pretty much all the comments.

    The 2 406’s are the most reliable cars i’ve ever had, utterly faultless, one was a coupe ans looked good too.

    The first 407 had a new turbo at 12k, and the infamous ball joints.

    The second spent weeks in the dealers, 3 times for leaking injectors, once for a leaking “rocker” cover, three times for failed climate control, once for a boot lid that would not shut,and finally failed ball joints, which Peugeot refused to replace under warranty despite them being the 407’s most well known failing, even contacting head office failed to make an impression.
    I thus had plenty of chances to try out 207’s,107,308’s etc.Dismal all of them.

    I replaced the ball joint myself for £65 and a Saturday morning, it cost Peugeot a customer of over 22 years.

    I kept the 407 SW (2.2 Hdi GT-fully blinged up)when I retired it from daily use, and now look after it myself with the help of a clone Lexia/PP2000 unit. I kept it because despite it being a reverse tardis fish faced nightmare in a parking bay, I really like it.

    I won’t be back in their showrooms anytime soon,the cheap far eastern competition is cheaper, better and looks better.

  29. Interesting Nick A (20)

    I too liked the ass shakin Megane, but they were hopelessly unreliable and fragile.

    The demo 1.5 105 dynamique I once had was a hoot…. When it wasn’t
    Suffering random electrical glitches.

  30. I’ve only driven the 207 and the ridiculously monickered Expert Teepee from their recent range. 207 wasn’t exactly bad, but the interior plastics were of a grade that I’d expect in a Dacia, and it was very underwhelming. The Expert Teepee seemed pretty well made, and comfortable to drive, but the gates on the gearstick were too close together, meaning that you had to be very deliberate when selecting gears.

    I really can’t see a USP for any of the current range, which seems to have a lot of pointless variations on the supermini theme- and they all look pretty indistinct.

    Will we ever see a new take on the old 205? A car with timeless styling that still looks good today, and drove really well.

  31. The simple fact is Peugeot offer less in terms of desirability, reliability and solid resale values compared to VW, Ford and even GM. Citroen are slowly becoming the dominant brand in people’s minds within PSA, ironic given it was Peugeot who bought them all those years ago.
    Also how much good will was lost when Ryton closed, I think that had a contributing factor to their current state.

  32. Why would anyone want to even consider buying a French car at all, let alone a Peugot ?

    Since the Euro came in, the non-German manufacturers have had to face up to VW/Audi, Merc, BMW, without being able to fiddle their prices by devaluation of the currency (franc, lire, peseta etc). So with labour costs having run away in France, compared to Germany, the cars no longer have any price advantage, but a lot of disadvantages on the reliability front, and as for design, well !!

  33. Interesting points in reply number 23.

    I think the issue PSA has is that Peugeot and Citroen are too similar and compete directly against each other. Rather than agreeing to move one up-market and have the other as a bargain brand they have decided to make both brands simultaneously do both!

    The Citroen C models now seem to be willfully bland so they can sell more DS’s.

    Peugeot’s *01 and *08 market positioning is even more confusing! I agree with the point that many Peugeot customers have moved to Skoda or Citroen. Peugeot 305 diesels used to be very popular in rural areas, my dad had one with no hubcaps and a relatively basic spec, but it was brilliant, frugal and through an elegant functionality it was a much more interesting car than its contrived rivals – he went onto have another 5 Peugeots in a row and then ended up choosing between a Skoda Roomster and a C3 Picasso, because he was no longer fussed by anything Peugeot offered and there was no small practical model like an MPV.

    To my mind Peugeot needs to drop the idea of creating *01 models for developing markets and *08 models for Europe and have one global model line up positioned directly against Skoda and also to an extent Dacia. Citroen could then move upmarket and offer more distinctive designs for a premium.

  34. Many years ago, I had a choice between a 205 diesel and a Rover 216 – the Peugeot was newer and more economical, but was slow (no turbo), and had a VERY basic interior. I was very happy with the Rover.
    More recently (2007?), we toured Scotland in a hired 407 estate, 2.0 diesel. The 6-speed box was a marketing gimmick, as it wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding in 6th; you had to change down again after about 5 seconds, even on the M6. Economy was disappointing at about 40mpg; bits of trim came off in your hand; and the tailgate was ridiculously narrow. A shame really, when the earlier 406 estate was nicely trimmed, and generally more prestigious.
    The long snouts on the latest models (308) look awful, as does the entire body of the 3008.
    Stop being quirky, Peugeot; build what the customers want.

  35. IMHO the one thing that has been causing Peugeot problems for the past decade is the fact that they no longer have any reputation to speak of for producing driving machines like the 106, 205, 309 (despite its Talbot origins) and 306, nor of building any stylish cars like the 205, 306 and 405 / 406 let alone rugged cars of past like the 504 and 505.

    Am actually quite shocked at how far Peugeot has fallen and managed to get everything so wrong over the past decade or so, since I would have thought they would have continued to build upon their reputation of producing stylishly rugged cars with good ride/handling as well as making proper warm/hot hatch rivals to the Twingo, Clio and Megane, all of which would have made Peugeots more desirable.

  36. It seems to me that Peugeot’s on a hiding to nothing, a meaningless brand squeezed into the margins by Korean stuff that at least works. I cannot call to mind any of their current range. Perhaps the company has induced PTSD in me.

    Did once own one of their brood and it was fun: a 106 Rallye. A lovely, pretty little car that was an absolute hoot, until the gearbox let go.

    But where does the company go from here? It’s all about brand distinctiveness these days and the company just doesn’t have it.

    The only prayer they have is that the 208 GTI is a small wonder like the 205 GTI was back in its day. Somehow, I doubt it.

    Is the best strategy to let Peugeot as a brand die and bet the farm on Citroen?

  37. Ive never been a fan of Peugeot The 205 GTI was ok but the rest never appeared on my car radar. I would go as far as to say the only reason to buy a PSA product in the past was for the very good XUD diesel.
    The problem with the French car manufacturers is that they only produce bred and butter cars that the emerging markets dont want or need. In the UK like Germany we now MAINLY Produce assperational cars which the emerging markets seem to want. Lucky us 🙂

  38. Another good story Mike! Yes possibly another Manufacturer to hit the Buffers unless something drastic happens, I agree with the comments that Peug have a forgettable range (though looking at the picture Mike used they dont look too bad?Also the new 208 has everything for free for 3 years.. .They should be flying out the showroom door.) But which is the higher and lower make, Peugeot or Citroen?

    However 3 years ago when we were looking for a new car we didnt even consider Peug or Clitron despite us having a few over the years (and not much bother from them either, though Dealer parts are frightening) and back then I couldn’t tell you what the 306 model number replacement was by then…We needed a Golf size car so …err went for a Golf.

    I remember going on 2 visits to the former Ryton on Dunsmore Plant (former Rootes Shadow Factory) when they were still building the 206 and were about to build the joint venture BMW engines, there was great expectations at Ryton which was also promised to build a new model and was said to be one of the Golden plants within the PSA group.

    But sadly it was not to be, as it was announced shortly after that Ryton was to close, The new Factories in China were to take the blame, As for the backlash from UK Buyers… you could be right but after the fiasco of Rover and BMW it hasnt stopped BMW sales one bit.

    Autocar a few years ago was starting to rumour that PSA were to dust off the old Talbot name to be applied to stripped and basic models.. but as yet nothing progressed, However if Dacia takes the market by storm?.

  39. My sister had an 807 – Lets just say she was on 1st name terms with the AA. Suffice to say our family will not buy peugeot again.

  40. From recent reports it looks like PSA are getting into bed with GM Europe, Let’s hope they take the good bits from each other and produce something half decent! Imagine the next generation Astra with dodgy French electrics and a face even a mother couldn’t love! 🙂

  41. The problem with French cars is the electrics. Modern cars are stuffed full of sensors, ECUs, ABS systems and other electrical systems. All of these parts are set at ripoff prices at the dealers. If the electrics are unreliable, I wouldn’t touch it.
    Judging by the amateurish wiring loom fitted to my Xantia, the French are absolutely clueless when it comes to wiring a car.

  42. Peugeot’s problems started with the steaming turd that was the 307. The 206 also despite being a sales smash hit was a dreadful car that was built like shit and totally went against the Peugeot ride/handling qualities that they became known for.

  43. Did Peugeot’s problems start when they pulled out of Coventry or when they started building cars that looked like wide mouthed frogs?

    I’ve driven a couple of 308’s and they felt cheap and awful so not surprised sales are dipping.

  44. @Joe Strong – I thought I was unlucky, my 407’s turbo failed at 29000 miles, costing me £1300, then at 54000 miles the EGR failed, which in turn knackered the ECU, costing me another £1300. Plus constant DPF problems and the dreaded ball joints and tyres that seem to be magnetic when it comes to nails & screws…

    Also, the fuel consumption is nowhere near as good as Peugeot claim – maybe the car they road tested didn’t have a DPF fitted….

    I can no longer trust the main dealer, as it seemed they were deliberately creating problems, but luckily have found a Peugeot sepcialist who can do everything for a fraction of the price.

    My previous car was a 406, which was absolutely brilliant, but the 407 is a huge disappointment. I will not buy another Peugeot and am seriously considering a MK4 Mondeo, although trying to find a saloon is very difficult, especially when people in the motor trade can’t tell the difference between a saloon and a hatchback!

  45. My family owned peugeots when i was a child the diesel 305 estate was a good solid dependable car that sipped fuel and as we had just started up the buisness in the late 80’s it hauled stuff around without any problems, two 405’s also came about the first pre fecelift felt a bit flimsy inside but never gave any trouble, same with the second car. Other family members also had 205’s, a 309, and a citroen ZX all with the XUD engine some turbo some non turbo. It was a great unit.
    At the moment i drive a 406 HDi 110, i have had it 4 years and done 40,000 miles, a crankshaft pulley has been the only thing the engine has required. Its a smooth comfortable car, yet on twisty back roads its still enjoyable to drive.

    Peugeot do not make a car i would buy to replace the 406.

  46. Emperor’s new clothes syndrome, a bit like British Leyland – nobody in senior management with the balls to stand up and ask “is this really the best we can do?” when it comes to new model introduction.

  47. The thing is, nearly all the middle brands are up sh*t creek without a paddle. GM are going down the pan, Fiat have been pants for the last zillion years, and Ford, well..VW are struggling as well with their overpriced, and not that reliable blandfests too

  48. I think comments no. 9 & 23 hit the nail on the head here for me.

    Some time back I used a 406 as a pool car at work for 3 years or so and after my first long stint on a challenging A road I was totally won over by it. The ride and handling were way ahead of anything I’d previously experienced in this sector and I knew I had to own something similar. Not being able to quite stretch to a 406 at the time I tried a 306 and eventually went for a V plate 1.8 Meridian. It was a great car to drive and looked good to my eye too. Because of these things I was willing to overlook its less than great reliability record during my time of ownership.

    There is no equivalently good looking, nice driving car currently offered by Peugeot that I would now be willing to own. The 207 & 307 were where it all started to go wrong and although the cars appear to be beginning to improve, it does look like its all a bit too late. Especially when competing with Citroen’s DS range, which appears to offer the aspirational element that buyers seem to want nowadays.

    The last good Peugeot I drove? That would be the 107… And if I was looking to buy one of those I’d go for the cheaper Citroen variant.

  49. I for one are glad to see french cars are failing,they are rubbish and dont forget with their protectionist ways they dont buy “British”.I have spent 38 years in the motot trade (7 at a MG Rover Dealership)until Rover sadly failed,so i am speaking of past experiance !!

  50. I learned to drive in a 205 diesel (non turbo). Sizewise it was roomy inside but the gearchange was simply the worst I have ever experienced. I have a inherent dislike of French cars (stories of exploding rear windows on Citroen AXs, various other new Citroens catching fire for no reason, a colleagues Renault Clio with a broken electric window – the failed part was a piece of plastic which cost a fortune to replace). To me French cars are generally poor, with dreadful build quality and don’t last.

  51. I think the rot set in when Peugeot stopped making its own shock absorbers,when most of its cars rode with aplomb and handled well,the 206 for example-a very popular and attractive car was no better than a corsa at ride or handling.The GTi model was a joke:adding on further bracing to the rear axle beam(and weight)to what should have been a sound set up in the first place and in any other era a uprated shocker/spring set up would have sufficed.
    Apparantly, Peugeot is addressing the size/weight issues with the 208 and its other models will end up slightly smaller with no cost to room.I had a 2001 406HDi 110 from new and i loved it,the 407 was a dog,to own and work on.
    The EB engines are very sensitive to servicing when its TU and XU series engines were robust and could take a bit of neglect,the 207/Mini engine is dogged with timing chain trouble first manifesting itself with camshaft dephaser fault codes and oil consumption problems.All this when the only car to have in Africa was a 504/505! a shame really because Peugeot did make some fine cars.

  52. As Mikey C says:

    “A bad combination of
    1) A reputation for unreliability, dodgy electrics etc put off the buyers looking for a boring runaround
    2) Dodgy styling, that hideous mouth on the 207, 308 and 407, and dumpy rear styling”

    Peugeot went through a phase of seemingly trying to create the ugliest car front ever. Coupled with very poor build quality and an electrical system that seemed to be more “electrickery” than electricity, there was always going to be a fall. Our business development manager was a Pug devotee having had about 5 of them on rolling 3 year leases but he had numerous problems with the last one and now drives a Skoda Octavia estate instead. His last 307SW was shockingly unreliable and even though it was all sorted under warranty he decided to go elsewhere.

    Peugeout might have gotten away with the ugly looks if the cars had driven well and were reliable, but they have endede up being bloated, overweight and uninteresting. Actually, the only one I like in the current range is the 508 estate – which is at least stylish to my eye, but I would be put off by the prospect of cliff-face depreciation and reputation for dodgy electrics, never mind the known issues with the HDI engine.

    Peugeot’s cause has not been helped by the bad joke 1008 which was an utter dogs breakfast when compared with say, a Honda Jazz. Nor is the outstandingly ugly 4007 goung to win any accolades. But ultimately, you can build something bland looking as long as it drives well and is reliable and economical — otherwise why would the VW Golf and BMW 3-series be so popular?

    I won’t be sorry to see the back of Peugeot, only to see the loss of jobs. But seeing as how they kicked Ryton in the teeth several years ago, the impact on the UK won’t be major.

  53. The only thing keeping Peugeot going is the just add fuel campaign,which apart from the clutch-a-year 107 will keep the workshops busy!

  54. For those of us old enough to remember, this was such a powerful piece of advertising, and involved budgets that are unlikely to be seen again.
    In many ways this highlights their problem:
    Back in 1996, the ‘Hero’ (Regional sales manager for an office supplies company to you and me), was aspiring to both a Peugeot and a 406, not just in the marketing mans mind, but in reality. The 406 at launch was half a notch above Vectra/Xantia/Mondeo etc, and was also on the list of people coming out of Rover 800s.

    The ‘Hero’ today is after the highest spec 318d, or A4 Tdi that his fleet manager will allow him – there is virtually zero chance of him even looking at a 508 – Simple as that.

  55. Yes they are still popular in France but are gradually being squeezed out by the Koreans from below and the “premiums” from above. The French Govt are injecting them with money to keep them alive but trying to dictate strategy which has poured cold water on the potential Opel/PSA merger and which prevents PSA from dealing with its chronic over capacity and high cost. PSA will not be allowed to fail, but what it will do with all the cars it produces will be anyones guess – because, ultimately if nobody wants to buy them, and you cant get the economies of scale that VW etc can get then where can you go?

  56. It wouldnt’t surprise me if Peugeot fails. Their stubborness to go into business with a Japanese or German company, which would improve their quality, will be their undoing as the cars are now neither reliable, good looking or good to drive. One of my friends had a 208 as a Motability car which was about as reliable as a chocolate fireguard and now has a BMW 1 series, which is completely the opposite.

  57. I’ve never understood why they never tried to get in on the markets in the East coast of America, where VW and Mini have succeeded, and even push through to states on the otherside too.

  58. reading some of the comments and looking at what they’d done to the model range, despite the fact that their government is injecting cash (that they don’t really have), there seems to be some similarities to MGRover. Only on a bigger scale…..

  59. Really don’t know, but I don’t think that PSA will disappear that easy or fast. At the end, France ( or any other country for that matters ) it’s not Britain, you know…

  60. @yme402

    You sir have hit the nail on the head.

    As much as I am a fan of French cars, it all went wrong around the time of the HDi onwards. My 406 HDi was let down by the engine (and the rust on the nearside doors that was Merc-like). Comfortable car, drove to Silverstone and back without being uncomfortable, but that engine was a headache. Which was a shame, after a couple of great XUDs and a T engined Xantia.

    I know a fleet which replaced their 406 and Xantias with 407 1.6 HDis, and ran into horrendous reliability issues – this has blacklisted Peugeot with them. They moved on to Octavias and Insignias (the former proving expensive to service and the latter proving as unreliable as the Pug)

    PSAs range is all over the place, they need a coherent structure. Citroen for the people carriers / small cars and Peugeot for the ‘big’ cars (the 508 seems to be selling more than the C5 and C6 ever did)?

    What of the ever-touted AutoExpress favourite ‘bring back Talbot’? Sell the likes of the 301 over here?

  61. @65 “It wouldnt’t surprise me if Peugeot fails. Their stubborness to go into business with a Japanese or German company, which would improve their quality”

    What, you mean like the 107, C1, Aygo project with Toyota? Or the C-Crosser/4007/Mitsubishi Outlander? Or the engine co-operation with Ford…

  62. @71
    Don’t forget the Prince engine co-developed with BMW, and their hybrid system joint venture with the bavarians.

    The Mitsubishi tie-up also gave us the iOn and C-Zero. They also very nearly bought Mitsubishi.

    And their hand in the biggest emerging vehicle market – Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroen, where the ZX has been something of the Chinese Octavia.

  63. The whole ‘new’ car world is all over the place at the moment.
    Regulations on emmisions have strangled the ability to get a simple reliable and solid engine for a start….and the costs involved in just simple jobs on these cars. The Hdi has spelt the death nell for this company and although generally solid and reliable has, for me, proved to be my own cars achilles heel. The former XUD units were near perfect anyway so why (IMO) ruin a good package.
    The time is coming when I need to change my own 330k Pug406 estate cab for something newer. I’ll feel like a baby cast into the wilderness!!

    T

  64. You can slate the HDi engine all you want,its no different to any other CR engine for reliability,all have similar failure characteristics,injectors,DPF’s and so on,the same 1.6HDIengine can be found in the Mondeo and various vans,while Skoda is being feted as the epitone of reliability,dont kid yourself-senn a few with snapped cranks due to dual mass flywheel conversions in the first instance and overfuel conditions in the second.
    My advice is avoid the above bullshit and buy a petrol.

  65. It’s always sad to see any business go, no matter what it does -people’s futures are undermined. Peugeot are a slowly asinking ship in my view. I owned one, an early 306 which appalling built, but, hey so were a lot of AR products. the 306 looked good, handled well and the XUD engine was excellent. Fast forward nearly 20 years and there are still build issues apparent and most Puegeots look awakward to say the least -the new 208 always seems like it’s been in a shunt. The problem is, there’s no reason to buy one.

  66. It’s always sad to see any business go, no matter what it does -people’s futures are undermined. Peugeot are a slowly a sinking ship in my view. I owned one, an early 306 which appalling built, but, hey so were a lot of AR products. the 306 looked good, handled well and the XUD engine was excellent. Fast forward nearly 20 years and there are still build issues apparent and most Puegeots look awakward to say the least -the new 208 always seems like it’s been in a shunt. The problem is, there’s no reason to buy one.

  67. eh, unreliable Peugeot’s ?

    not in my personal experience, Peugeot’s problem is the cars went ugly

    eg- 306 still looks quite good, 307 has not dated as well, 308 has retard grin….

    in the good old days who would choose the 306 over the ZX ?

    Now the tables have turned & the Citroen have the looks & sales

  68. Sad times, although closing the popular Citroen dealer in Horsham itself probably didn’t help. People don’t wanna traipse all the way out to the A24 roundabout to look at a car!

    The bit I never understood is why Peugeot, who rescued Citroen, allowed them to develop a second brand (Daft Spinster) which created yet another reason not to cross the showroom to the Lion products.

    Citroen should have been made the Value brand with them receiving all the old Peugeot cast offs and any best sellers like the Picasso should have been platform shared as matter of course.

  69. Peugeot simply dont do anything better than any other manufacturer, at least Citroen have a bit of style with the DS range, company will never be allowed to go under as the French government will pump money in, whiff of BL.

  70. To me, several things are killing Puegeot. As some have noted, the ‘middle market’ has been destroyed in Europe by the 2008 and continuing economic changes as fewer middle class jobs exist that paid for such cars.
    The internet has made it a lot easier to find out about various brands of cars, a good example is the comments of serious faults of Puegeot cars just in this site. Electrical/electronic faults are totally unacceptable in a modern car and PSA seemed to have failed miserably in that area. Of course this has been a serious problem for them for generations, it is in part drove them out of the North American market.
    Unattractive cars, I mean, why do they have that huge ‘codpiece’ of a front corporate symbol. It seems their cars have the same genertic appearance of so many cars today.
    A chase to the bottom to cut costs, cutting the value of cars and causing too many major failures and expensive repairs.
    While Renault has their partnership with Nissan, PSA has none and any they had disappeared over 30 years ago but for one model with Toyota.
    Puegeot is one of the oldest carmakers in the world, Citreon has been a major innovator of FWD cars and once made cars really different but that is long gone. Who know what will be the future of PSA, even the French people and government will run out of money and ability to continue to keep them on life support with tax funds.

  71. @85,Regardless of market share in Europe PSA have many pots on the boil,FoMoCo/PSA TDCi/HDi engines the same engines in 208/8 MINI’s etc etc,while Renault have an “alliance” with Nissan its notable to see how many Jukes and Quashquais are on the roads instead of Meganes.Peugeot has lost its way style wise,i think the 208 looks good in comparison to the horrid 308,as with most French cars,electrical faults-i.e. BSi units dont have PSA or Renault stamped on them, it outside suppliers but the manufactorer carries the can.
    Funnily enough,i had a customer a while back with a 307,his engine,wipers and light would not turn off-he had his key in his hand-bloody french electrics he said,in this case it was the owners fualt-he didnt put the fuse box lid on correctly and pissed everything through!

  72. Post 54 is right. But Renault has suffered more (at least in the UK market) than other mid-market brands. Having hired a few Hyundais and Kias in the last couple of years, plus a couple of Astras, an MG6 and other mid-rangers, I have to say if I were buying a car with my own money, I’d find it difficult to make a case for anything other than Korean now.

  73. However, they built the world’s best diesel engine, the XUD, which debuted in the largely forgotten Talbot Horizon in 1982 and was still in production in 1999. Simple, very economical, reliable, with bags of torque and decent refinement and power, this engine totally destroyed the London taxi image of diesels as being very rough and slow. Having more or less been a guinea pig with the Talbot version way back at the start of 1983- the garage stated that this was a new Peugeot engine that was being tested in the Talbot- I was impressed with its capability on the A69, 55 mpg economy and refinement once out of first.
    While the modern Peugeot no longer offers anything, bear in mind they were the masters of diesel in the eighties and nineties.

  74. Do any readers 40+ years old cringe at the usage of the initials PSA? More widely used in the UK at one time as the former Property Services Agency, which at one time employed me and 100,000 others until the early 1990s. Inept management and a lack of innovation or customer focus sank it soon after I jumped from the sinking ship.

    Unlike the British PSA, I bet the French Government won’t allow Peugeot to sink – and they’ll probably be highly skilled in using our EU payments to subsidise it.

    Do Peugeot still make mopeds and power tools? I can’t imagine them being competitive against the Far East in either of these areas.

  75. Hi
    Being an old Rover technician and now a Hyundai/Peugeot tech I am looking at this thread with interest.
    I look at the Peugeot situation and I can tell you this. They actually care more about there customer care than Hyundai. Also Hyundai are not as reliable as many people think and never have been. They have there reliability rep because a majority of there customers only used to do about 5,000 per year and about 50mph at the most.. Now its slighty different as the customer base has changed to a younger and more astute clientel. Peugeot will recall any fault they find with their cars , Asian manufacturers will be reluctant to do so and will more likely to do it on a service and might not even tell the customer and will only do so if the vehicle stays in. They dont like the word recall. Also you hear the words wear and tear a lot more in Asian manufacturers when it comes to warranty.

  76. Part 2

    Did you know replacing a flywheel in a i800 when I last looked was about £1200 plus vat and it had only done 30k. Back to Peugeot-these cars are far more advanced in their body systems than the Koreans. As a tech the back up you get with Peugeot is 10 times better than Hyundai and the labour times you get to do jobs. Yes I know Peugeot are not the best looking cars but the Koreans seem to be copying a lot of different manufacturers albeit a year of two later. The Koreans are not as cheap as they were aswell. Peugeot and Hyundai both have sister companies that have better looking cars. Peugeots 1.6 turbo engine is part BMW and is used in the Mini as is the diesel-better the Chrysler lump which was used before. 4007 is a Mitsi and Pugvans are Fiats. Ford car diesels are Pugs.
    I just felt you guys should know a few views from the other side.
    MadV.. I run a nationwide Korean website

  77. @91, You make very cogent and salient points in regards to far east cars and thier mileage,while some look good they are just seen as washing machines.Whilst french car tech/body systems are way,way ahead of German and Jap gear(as i have stated in other threads)i have to disagree with you with the PSA/BMW,although the Tritec had faults-early recall on cracked heads,poor castings etc it was far more robust than the EB based engine that replaced it,i have seen countless chain module replacements in my workshop-not a nice job without BMW service tool,cam followers breaking/jumping off valves due to lowish oil level(especially cooper s with on-demand oil/water pump)all in all a bad engine,in one case a couple of years ago i had to show a tech at a north manchester pug dealer how to use the Planet machine!confidence inspiring!

  78. @MadV

    Our Getz needed a new clutch at 50k miles. Apparantly the thrust bearing went and took the clutch with it.
    Though that wee car gets some abuse. (You need to wind the 1.1 engine up to make progress…)

    Meanwhile the Honda has never put a foot wrong (other than an American-style drink problem…), yet they’re axing the Accord to concentrate on the Jazz/Civic and SUVs.

  79. Will
    Newer Hyundai Kia clutches are lasting less than that and 1.1 had bottom end problems. I have worked on Honda before and they did have problems.

    @ Francis. Yes I know of the problems you talk about as I was the first one to carry out cam timing adjustments in our workshop. We have never had cam follower breakages though. A few cam chain tensioners got stuck in the heads. What oil do you use in them??. What do you mean by on demand water/oil pump??

  80. I don’t know about Peugoet being a cut above the other frnch brands, I always saw the french car makers as Renualt being the rock bottom (sorry I have yet to experiance anything but bad design/build from one) and Peugoet being the middle and Citroen as the avant guarde top end, even their cheap cars were interesting.

    But I think the biggest issue here is the motoring press’s obession with (Utterly crap) german ride. This means the french cars forté, the coseting ride is seen as ‘soft’ and bad when its no such thing. For my daily drive I want comfort, I don’t give a pair of fetid dingos kidneys about track times, or how the ‘chassis’ behaves at the limit, it’s irrelevant to daily driveing as long as it behaves in a safe and predictable in daily use way who the hell cares? You are not going to explore the limits of your cars handling on the daily commute, this was also where british cars hammerd the germans. However they seem to have done a microsoft and redifined the standadrs so they win.

  81. @MadV

    Trying to persuade her to move it along before we have any problems such as bottom end. We might run it into the ground and then look at something.

    Peugeot used to be the Mercedes of the French brands. Big solidly built saloons.

    I agree with Stewart, the germans are funding the motoring press here, which means their cars always get a good right up and all of a sudden harsh suspension is the must have. Might be alright on the autobahn or the nurburgring, but not the rutted, potholed, patchy, bumpy roads of most UK/Ireland commutes. This is where the likes of the Xantia excelled. However, I was dismayed to read a review of the DS5 suggesting that even Citroen are following this route of harsh suspension.

    Renault used to sell a lot of Clios around here, they were cheap and did the job, but now they’re over priced and as such don’t sell as well.

  82. It’s funny to me when I read about Peugeot’s present reputation for unreliability, well funny perculiar anyhow.

    When I was growing up in the late 70s, my dad was involved in the taxi trade around here, and 504s were the cars everybody wanted as they were totally indestructable. It must have been a horror to drive ( 0-60 in about an hour I should think !!) but there was a burgundy coloured saloon 504 diesel auto here that did over 450,000 miles. Following that 505s and 305 estates were the cars of choice.

    I obvioulsy got my love of off beat cars from my dad who at one point had a diesel 604, unusual for sure, but without doubt the most comfortable back seat ever produced.

    I suppose though with their loss of reliability, there is sadly no other reason to buy one….

  83. The 504 was up there with the W123. Many African countries ran them too.
    The coupe was gorgeous too.
    The 406 coupe was a nice looking car (and you could get a Ferrari 360 bodykit).
    They had a concept for a 504 coupe as the 508 coupe, but it never came to pass.

  84. Egypt still has LOTS of 504s, especially the Family Estates – you definitely step back in time when you ride in them!

    The 505s were less succesful there, I don’t know if they are less rugged?

  85. @94,i use 0w30 in the cooper S or 5w30-40 in the Pug engine.The on demand water pump on the cooper is a electro-clutch on the pulley (used when cold with failsafe)and the oil pump is flow controlled (self explanatory-until the filter sucks itself in).

  86. 99. Having used both 504 and 505 estates in the early to mid 1980’s they were more similar underneath than you could possibly imagine. Both had similarly agricultural running gear and great ground clearance, it’s just that the 505 was a huge improvement in virtually every area and turned out to be even more robust than the 504.

  87. Is that possible? the 504 was and awsomely rugged car. My dad had 3, 2 505 Tis and one Famalie Estate. His logic was, if they survive africe then they were going to be pretty much trouble free in the UK.. and on the whole they were!, even the ones with mechanical injection.. I’d love to find one now but it seems they have all emigrated rather than gone, the africans have aparently bought them all up and shipped them off to africa

  88. The companies making “everyday” cars such as Peugeot, seem to be fighting for survival, but those whose products can be labelled as “indulgences” and “male jewellery” are making money.

  89. @104, Like the Evoque,i saw one at Stratstone for £44k- and is loosely based on the Focus/Freelander platform!

  90. The famous Peugeot 504 estate car, 3 rows of seats, anyone remember the Nissan copy of the 504 used as Taxis in Paris during the early 1980s? One driver told he had clocked up 700,000km in one, his second one was only up to 350,000km.

    Classic long travel French suspension: nose down, tail up stance.

    Do not think they were ever sold in UK, made a big impression as a passenger in them, especially the mileage they clocked up

  91. Paul – December 2012 – I live in France and in this part of France, the french buy VW’s can’t get enough of them! Renault is third choice if the French buy French cars, however i remember reading that the Montego sold like hot cakes over here in it’s hay day, Metro’s,Rover 200, Rover 600, Rover 800, Rover 45 and Rover 25, although one of these is mine (re-registered)

  92. I had a mate who ran a 407 Coupe for a while. It wasn’t the most reliable of cars, costing £10,000 to buy used and seeming to be worth £2,000 not that much later. Problems included needing to remove part of the engine to replace a headlight bulb, and to cap it all the digital display on the dashboard then stopped working properly..

  93. The headlights on 407s extend halfway up the bonnet, changing a bulb can be a pain.
    I know of a 407 owner who sourced a new MFD (the digital display) and fitted it himself.
    My Peugeot woes were mostly around the HDi engine, and strangely, rustproofing on nearside doors.

  94. There’s hope for them yet. The 508 is vastly more acceptable than the 407 – as it should be – while the 208 is smart, small, and nimble, with a modern dash and a nice throb from the 3 cylinder.

  95. Always loved Peugeots till around the early 2000s, they (and Citroen and Renault) seemed to lose it in the last few years, making ugly, undesirable and unreliable tat. German cars are more desirable, but in my experience, not really that reliable, BMWs can really be quite poor as far as developing electrical faults and the quality of interior parts is concerned. Japanese cars are the only real safe bet with Korean cars still being a bit rough round the edges as far as quality is concerned (my mum’s brand new ’59 plate Picanto was appallingly poor quality).

  96. My father owned a 504 in the late ’70s and that was one strong car; no wonder they were so popular in Africa over the years. During the ’80s and early ’90s they were something of a status symbol in my country till reliability issues got the better of them. These days I feel a tinge of nostalgia and sadness when I see 305s and 505s heading to the scrapyard. They haven’t been sold here since the mid-2000s and in all honesty, when I look at the company’s website, I don’t see anything inspiring in its current line-up. I could say the same for all the French manufacturers – in the old days their cars were unique in terms of styling, but now they all seem to have lost their way.

  97. I passed this site yesterday and noticed a new sign announcing the arrival of the local Ford/Mazda dealer ‘soon’.

    No surprise, since the Ford dealer is due to vacate their current site to make way for a new Waitrose.

    That still leaves the nearby Vauxhall site empty. Maybe a good spot for a new MG dealer?

  98. @ Steve L

    As you say.. the old Lifestyle dealer is being cleared for the new John Lewis branch and moving to Broadbridge Heath.

    As for the old Stevens Vauxhall site… My sources tell me that GO! Vauxhall (the retail arm of GMUK) who are taking over the former Crawley site, may also be opening the Horsham branch as well!

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