The new Peugeot 207 comes to market with the difficult task of repeating the enormous success of the 206. Fabio Galvano has met Gerard Welter, Peugeot design chief, to hear about the vehicle’s strong points and how the designers have addressed this passionately difficult challenge. Here are some passages from the interview: “Compared with the 206, this car is really innovative because it contributes styling elements that have never been developed anywhere else. We managed to capitalise on what Peugeot do best in terms of dynamism”. Welter quotes a significant anecdote in this regard: “Think back to the Spring of 2002. At that time we were looking for the definitive styling for the 207. The stylists were on top form. All the proposals had been scrutinised and analysed. Just by chance, because I’ve always been a motorsports fan, I went with Robert Peugeot to watch the Cyprus rally and saw our 206 WRC in action. The car clearly stood out from all the rest: it has a dynamism that makes it special. The next day, we returned to Paris with our ideas a bit clearer. We now knew that we needed more dynamism, more felinity and more sporting character in the new 207. We went back to work on the wings and wheelarches, which originally had flat outer surfacing. We flared them out and made changes both inside and out”.
“This was meant to be a 206 for people who already had one but who wanted to change. Someone a little older with, perhaps, a little more spending power. A user that wants a multipurpose car, which also gives the impression of having moved a step further upmarket. There will be a price difference and there will be those who choose the more expensive model, the 207, simply because they want to, while others will choose the 206 because it still offers what they need”.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 157