As a car manufacturer that has been in existence even before automobiles were invented, Peugeot has a long design history.
Looking back all the way to Peugeot’s first vehicle, the Serpollet Tricycle; it was simply a horse carriage redesigned to fit a steam powered engine. This was because horse carriages was the main method of transport back in late 19th century. It was not an established market for people to invest their time into designing what this sort of vehicle should look like.
In my opinions, it was until 1938 with the 202 that Peugeot got rid of the “horseless carriage” design element in their vehicles. It marked the early 20th century style of Peugeot car design.
This style continued up until 1955, when Peugeot got hold of Pininfarina, the masters of automotive styling, to design their new 403 range. They introduced the three-box styling to the 403, which is commonly refer to as a sedan or coupe in modern terms.
Pininfarina continued to help peugeot define the styling of their vehicles and helped the Peugeot 404 convertible become one of Peugeot’s classic and landmark vehicles.
With the Peugeot Lion logo redesigned in 1980, we also saw changes in the styling of Peugeot vehicles. The first design continuity was introduced with the badge sink positioned in the center of the grill, which can subsequently be seen on vehicles such as the 309 and 106. Peugeot also only used square head lights with their 80s-90s vehicles and this design was kept up until the retirement of the 205.
The 206 had a radical change in design; it was a big facelift from the 205 and I think its styling was one that is ahead of its time. Dynamic flow of the vehicle, head lights which flow along with the line work of the car, and it kept design continuity with the badge sink.
The sharp flow of the headlights became part of Peugeot’s design identity and along with the badge sink, it has been carried forward to future Peugeot vehicles.
With the 208 fresh out of the oven, we can quickly analysis the design they have incorporated into the styling of the vehicle.
Traditional 3 wheels wheelbase distance, with slightly more over hang. 208 has a higher vanishing point to the 308, which is understandable as the 308 is the higher model, and require that streamline and dynamic edge to be worthy of the higher price tag. The slight forward leaning stance and the low belt line is common with the two design, but we can see an overlapping B-point and vanishing point on the 208, which is common style used for superminis.