Peugeot have taken the decision to kill off their iconic GTI badge. There have been many great Peugeots that have worn that badge, including the 205 GTI, 106 GTI and 306 GTI-6. In the early ’90s it seemed that Peugeot could do no wrong, producing cars that were fantastic handlers as well as being quite refined.
Unfortunately it all seemed to go downhill with the arrival of the 206 and the 307, with uninspiring handling and dull steering taking the shine off that GTI badge. Even success in the World Rally Championship failed to ignite any real interest in the showroom, although Peugeot did miss a chance to cash in on the success by failing to produce any rally-inspired special editions.
The move to end production of GTI models is part of a strategy to reinvent Peugeot. The car maker intends to concentrate on making sporty coupes such as the Audi TT-rivalling RCZ instead.
“For us, the GTI concept is dead,” says Peugeot marketing director Christian Stein. “We will move away from hot hatches towards premium sports coupes.nThe GTI means a lot to English people but it is time to move on.”
Sorry, but I can’t help but think that Peugeot have made the wrong decision. Renault are consistently showing the world how good a French hot hatch can be, and the halo effect of these sports models gives the rest of the range a big image boost. Perhaps Peugeot should have concentrated on making their GTIs a bit better and then they would have been shifting a few more units from the showrooms.