Peugeot is looking to shift its brand reputation upmarket over the coming years, helped by a combination of new products and strategy, according to new UK managing director Stefane Le Guevel.

 “When you speak about going upmarket, one thing is the product you launch, and the new 108 and 308 are consistent with the idea we are going upmarket. But we have to change customer perception, and that takes longer,” he told BusinessCar at the world unveiling of the facelifted 508 in London late last month.

“The UK market more than the rest of Europe is driven by brand; you could be attracted by a product, but being a product of this brand or that brand could make a difference in willingness to go further in the purchase process.”

Le Guevel said Peugeot would look to move into the middle ground between the volume and premium manufacturers, somewhere he felt VW currently sits.

“Moving upmarket is a strategic decision made by the Peugeot brand, [involving] improved quality, perceived quality, inner quality and the sales mix,” he said, claiming that Peugeot has an increasingly “rich mix” of higher trim levels being chosen by customers, which helps build the perceived quality message.

“It will not move tomorrow. We have to be consistent and work in the proper way because this is driven by perception and residual value – we have to protect the residual value,” he continued. “My priority is not on short or medium term.”

Peugeot’s new UK boss, who took up the role in February, described the revised 508 as “the link with the new generation of cars that will come”, and tasked it with helping change brand perception rather than offering a massive boost in volumes.

“The pressure on sales will be lower than if we had different priorities,” he said.