PSA Peugeot Citroen is under new design leadership this week. As of 4 January 2010, Gilles Vidal has taken over as design director for Peugeot and Thierry Metroz is the new pencil wielder-in-chief at Citroen.
Both will report to Jean-Pierre Ploué, who remains design director for the PSA group. The move is part of a plan to reinvigorate the French duo’s design brief, which has suffered from an indistinct identity over the past decade.
So it’s all change at PSA design?
Citroen has already begun a design renaissance in recent years, masterminded by Ploué. He ushered in a stronger character evident in the C6, new Picasso models, C3 and forthcoming DS3 and other semi-premium vehicles.
But Peugeot’s design has won more punishment than plaudits in recent years, with big bloated designs taking over from the elegance of its greatest hits such as the 504 Coupé, 205 and 406 Coupé.
A major new design direction for Peugeot is due to be announced in early January following Vidal’s appointment.
So the new PSA design bosses are tasked with making French design great again?
That’s the plan. The Peugeot Citroen announcement said their goal was ‘to pursue the goal of clearly differentiating the two brands. Maintaining a lead in automobile design is one of the priorities announced by Philippe Varin, chairman of PSA Peugeot Citroen.’
Who are the new design chiefs at Peugeot and Citroen?
Peugeot’s new design director Vidal is 37. He graduated from the Art Center College of Design of Vevey in Switzerland and joined PSA in 1996. In the past year, he has been in charge of Peugeot’s concept cars, including the 2009 BB1 electric concept car.
His counterpart as Citroen design director is 46-year-old Metroz. He is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art (ENSAAMA) and has extensive international experience in Asia and Brazil. Before joining PSA in July 2009, he was Renault’s director of exterior design.