It was in 1929 with the 201 that French automaker Peugeot began its characteristic three-digit numbering system based around the central ‘zero’.
This naming policy, which would later force Porsche to drop its intended 901 name for the iconic 911, was structured so that the central zero corresponded to the identity of the Peugeot marque, the first digit represented the segment size of the vehicle, and the end digit indicated the generation.
This system evolved at the end of the ‘90s, incorporating double letters to qualify the derived body type (CC for coupe-cabrio and SW for station wagon), and since 2005 it has been supplemented with the central ‘double zero’ used for crossover variants like the 3008
Now, with the launch of the new 301, which will spawn both a hatch and a sedan, Peugeot is reinventing its naming policy yet again.
While the central zero, a well-known symbol of Peugeot, has been retained, as has the first digit, which represents the size category, the end digit from now on will either be a ‘1’ or an ‘8’.
Peugeot models ending with the digit 1 will offer value for money, while upmarket, or ‘status’ vehicles as Peugeot calls them, will end with the digit 8.
If you’re not confused yet, you soon will be.
Peugeot models will no longer change their number when they are renewed, either. At the same time, there may be more than one vehicle competing in the same size category. For example, Peugeot is expected to launch a successor to the current 308
, which as the new naming policy dictates will still be called a 308 and compete in the same size category as the 301. The 308 will be the premium option while the 301 will be targeted at budget buyers.
The move is part of Peugeot’s goal of ending the confusion of its model names in new markets such as India and China. It also allows Peugeot to target both budget and luxury buyers across all segments. The move mirrors a strategy executed by Peugeot’s PSA-partner Citroen, which offers both a regular line of vehicles and premium DS offering.