The new Peugeot 308 has been available on the market since January 2022. It is the next vehicle in the "300 series", the most extensive in the history of the Peugeot brand, which began in 1932 with the Peugeot 301. There are ten generations and 90 years of automotive history between the Peugeot 301 and the current Peugeot 308. Since 2000, models from the series have been awarded "Car of the Year" twice.
The Peugeot 300 series models are compact vehicles between the small sedan and the family car. For 90 years, they have been wholly or partly produced in Sochaux - except for the Peugeot 309 manufactured at the Poissy plant and the new generation produced in Mulhouse.
At the beginning of the 1930s, Peugeot satisfied the needs of demanding customers with the launch of the Peugeot 301, which was sold from 1932 to 1936 as a sedan, coupe, cabriolet, and roadster. The Peugeot 301 was powered by a 1,465 cc 25 kW (35 hp) engine and produced 70,500 times.
In 1936 the Peugeot 302 followed, of which 25,100 units were manufactured up until 1938. It was around this time that car manufacturers were discovering aerodynamics and the Peugeot 302 was an example. Its integrated headlights behind the grille had an aerodynamic front end that continued the "Sochaux spindle" style introduced with the Peugeot 402. Since the Peugeot 402 was a great success, the brand decided to use the same line for its mid-range, embodied by the Peugeot 302. This model reached a speed of 100 km/h.
The war interrupted the development of the 300 series - the Peugeot 303 was never built. The series was shelved for three decades until the 1969 Peugeot 304 was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. It was available as a sedan, coupe, cabriolet, station wagon, and station wagon with a glass roof. The Peugeot 304 aimed to occupy the middle-class segment and kept the technical base of the Peugeot 204. However, it differs from the Peugeot 204 with a vertical grille and a sedan, while the estate version is only 2 centimeters longer (3.99 meters instead of 3.97 meters). From the Peugeot 204, the Peugeot 304 took over the wheelbase and the middle part of the body.
Almost 1,200,000 units of the Peugeot 304 were produced between 1969 and 1979, and it was a great sales success. Between 1970 and 1972, the lion brand also launched the Peugeot 304 in the USA. However, it was too small for the US market, and only 4,000 were sold. In 1973 the Peugeot 304 was restyled, and in 1975 the coupe and cabriolet versions disappeared. The sedan remained on the market until 1979.
The Peugeot 305 was introduced in Europe in 1977 as the successor to the Peugeot 304. Two body styles were available: a four-door sedan and a five-door station wagon, which featured a half-folding rear seat. This station wagon, designed in collaboration with Pininfarina, was also available in a commercial variant. The Peugeot 305 was the evolution of the Peugeot 304 and its 1.3-liter petrol engine. Its front-wheel drive, transverse engine, and four independent wheels stood out from its foreign competitors. With its good road holding, large interior, and comfort level similar to the higher segments, the Peugeot 305 quickly established itself on the market.
The Peugeot 305 sedan served as the basis for the VERA experimental program, which aimed to improve the fuel efficiency of future vehicle generations. The first VERA 01 prototype, presented in 1981, had a 20 percent reduced mass and a 30 percent reduced drag.
The VERA program, which lasted five years and included the engines, had a significant impact on the Peugeot 405 and Peugeot 605 models in 1989. The Peugeot 405, not the Peugeot 309, became his successor at Peugeot in 1987.
The Peugeot 309, produced in Poissy, Spain and Great Britain between 1985 and 1994, was the first true small car in the modern sense: it was no longer a classic four-door notch Peugeot 304 and Peugeot 305, but a hatchback. With a length of 4.05 meters, it is 19 centimeters shorter than the Peugeot 305 (4.24 meters in the sedan version). Inspired by the Talbot Horizon but with a style of its own, it recalled the platform and doors of the Peugeot 205, with an elongated front and rear end and a glass dome that characterized its hatchback.
The Peugeot 309 was launched as a 5-door, and in 1987, two years later, it was also offered as a 3-door. Finally, the Peugeot 309 GTi, powered by the same 1.9 liters 95 kW (130 hp) engine as the Peugeot 205 GTi, was introduced. The Peugeot 309 GTi accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 8 seconds and reached a top speed of 205 km/h. In 1989, the Peugeot 309 GTi received the MI16 engine with 117 kW (160 hp) from the Peugeot 405: it became the Peugeot 309 GTi 16, a powerful compact sports car respected by the competition. The career of the Peugeot 309 ended in 1994. Over 1.6 million models were sold.
In February 1993, the lion brand launched the Peugeot 306. It replaced both the top-of-the-line Peugeot 205 and the Peugeot 309. It became a bestseller in its category and was produced and assembled in no fewer than nine locations worldwide until 2002. Available in 3 and 5 doors from 1993, it was joined by a four-door and an attractive convertible in 1994. Designed and built by Pininfarina, the convertible was named Most Beautiful Convertible of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show in 1994 and Convertible of the Year in 1998. Once again, the road holding of the Peugeot 308 set standards and was particularly highlighted in the sporty versions, the Peugeot 306 XSI and the Peugeot 306 S16.
The Maxi version of the Peugeot 306 won the hard-fought French Rally Championship in 1996 and 1997 with Gilles Panizzi. It then went on to win some tarmac races in the World Rally Championship, such as in Corsica in 1997 and 1998, being stiff competition for the much more powerful World Rally Cars.
The Peugeot 309 was restyled in 1997, and a station wagon version also appeared in the same year. Production of the three and five-door versions of the Peugeot 306 ended in 2001 when its successor, the Peugeot 307, was presented. The station wagon's career ended in 2002. Pininfarina produced the cabriolet until 2003.
The 2002 "Car of the Year" Peugeot 307 was fantastic, with over 3.5 million models produced worldwide. It featured a new half-height design that offered more space and featured a large, raked windshield. Available as a 3-door, 5-door, and station wagon, it received an additional silhouette in the summer of 2003: the Coupé Cabriolet (CC). It transferred the modern concept successfully introduced with the Peugeot 206 CC to the compact segment. With its retractable hardtop and its four comfortable seats, the Peugeot 307 CC was one of the most spacious convertibles of its time. He was also the basis for the sports version, which competed in the World Championships in 2004 and 2005, winning three times and standing on the podium 26 times.
The first generation of the Peugeot 308 replaced the Peugeot 307 in 2007, which was replaced by a second generation in 2013. A third-generation followed the current Peugeot 308, which was launched in 2021.
The first generation of the Peugeot 308 was available as a 3-door, 5-door, and SW station wagon, and from March 2009, it was supplemented by a new generation of the CC coupé-cabriolet. At the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, a Peugeot 308 RCZ Coupe version was presented. This gave rise to the Peugeot RCZ, a modern 2+2 coupe that was produced 68,000 times between 2010 and 2015 and in the final version had an output of 198 kW (270 hp) and accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.
The second-generation Peugeot 308 was launched in 2013. Like the Peugeot 307 twelve years earlier, it was voted "Car of the Year" in 2014. Its style and its sober and elegant lines were modern. In particular, the driving pleasure reduced size, and lower weight was positively highlighted. In addition, the Peugeot i-Cockpit, which can already be found in the Peugeot 208, sets new standards: the small steering wheel, which decreases the amplitude of the movements, ensures a safe driving experience and at the same time makes driving in the city easier. A GTi version increased the driving characteristics and dynamics of the Peugeot 308, which took the lion brand into a new era.
The first two generations of the Peugeot 308 sold 7 million units before the new third-generation Peugeot 308 was launched. Manufactured at the Mulhouse plant, it bears the new Peugeot Shield logo unveiled at the new brand identity launch in February 2021. Good looking, powerful, and efficient, it is one of the finalists in the 2022 "Car of the Year." The awards will be announced at the end of February 2022.