Groupe PSA announced yesterday that Matthias Hossann will succeed Gilles Vidal in his new position as Design Director of Peugeot. He will start in his new position today and will report to PSA design director Jean Pierre Ploué.
Hossann comes from the talent pool of the auto giant’s style department, says Peugeot. He will succeed Gilles Vidal, who has been working with Peugeot for the last 10 years and more than 20 years with Groupe PSA, after coming from Citroën back in 1996 as a designer and leading the brand’s concept vehicles team. He was named head of design at Peugeot in 2010. Under Vidal, Peugeot revised its lineup with a sharper-edged design aesthetic, including repositioning the 3008 and 5008 from minivans to SUVs. Groupe PSA has not commented on the reason for Vidal’s exit.
Matthias Hossann, aged 40, comes from a similar talent pool of the auto giant’s style department. He graduated from the Strate Design School and joined the Groupe PSA’s style department in 2002 as a Citroën exterior designer. In 2008, he joined the Citroën/DS design studio in Shanghai, China, where he worked until 2013.
Hossann’s most recent project was the E-Legend, an electric coupe that recalled the Pininfarina-styled Peugeot 504 Coupe from the the 1970s. He was also responsible for the preliminary design of the new 208 and 2008.
Commenting on Matthias Hossann’s appointment as Design Director of Peugeot, Jean Pierre Ploué, Style Director of Groupe PSA, said, “I am delighted to entrust this mission to one of the most talented designers of his generation, who has illuminated the future of the Peugeot brand and who will henceforth be able to put his talent to serve the brand’s customers.” Ploué, also has a Citroën background, having been appointed Director of Styling for Groupe PSA in October 2008, he was Citroën’s Styling Director since 2000.
There was no mention of any change within Citroën of its design team.
We have wondered for some time if Citroën can be sustained within PSA’s varied brands, particularly when its merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is completed in early 2021. Whether that is possible or not, it is a testament to Citroën that heads of design in Peugeot continue to have Citroën roots.
For the time being at least, despite Covid-19, Groupe PSA’s net profit for the first half of 2020 has stayed in positive territory, at 595 million euros, down from 1.83 billion euros a year ago. Revenue fell 34.5% in the first six months of 2020 to 25.12 billion euros ($29.47 billion), while the automotive division’s adjusted operating margins shrank to 3.7% from 8.5% at the end of 2019. (PSA has set a goal for average margins of over 4.5% in the automotive unit for the 2019 to 2021 period).