Linda Jackson, CEO of Peugeot

Linda Jackson is pleased that the Women’s World Car of the Year (WWCOTY) awarded the Peugeot 308 the highest award. She guarantees that it is an endorsement of the strategy that Peugeot is carrying out

As a teenager, before entering college, Linda Jackson got a summer job in the auto industry. Since then, she has dedicated her time to this sector, which she fell in love with at first sight and for which, while studying at university, she took on different responsibilities. Today she is one of the most influential women in the automotive world and CEO of Peugeot worldwide. One of her latest achievements was that the Peugeot 308, the first model she launched since she joined Peugeot, won the highest award given by the Women’s World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), a jury composed exclusively of women journalists from the world of motorsport from five continents. Now the work continues for Linda Jackson. The road is long and the market is plagued by uncertainties.


The judges for the Women’s World Car of the Year awarded Peugeot the Best Car in the World.

What is the future of electric cars at Peugeot?

We present our first electric car, the peugeot 208, in 2019. A big part of its success was that it was an affordable model. Then we launched more electrics and hybrids. Now 100% of commercial vehicles and 80% of our passenger vehicles have an electric version and by 2025, 100% of the models in our range will also have an electric version. This means that we are looking to the future, but without forgetting that there are still people who are a little reluctant to go electric. that’s why he new 308 it is offered in a diesel, gasoline, hybrid and, of course, soon, electric version.

Will this bet be valid?

By the end of 2021, one in five cars we sold in Europe was electric. Now, due to the rising cost of fuel, it is one in three. Will the trend continue like this? I don’t know, what I can say is that Peugeot is on the right path with electrification.

Is it realistic to think that we will have autonomous cars in 20 years?

Who knows? The question is not when autonomous driving will be possible, but whether it will be affordable for individuals. I believe all this will come to public transport before private transport. When? Five years ago, experts said the self-driving car would arrive in 2023. Now, as the date approaches, they stretch their predictions.

Which market is most prepared to receive the autonomous car?

Cost is an important factor and this will be decisive. I would like to clarify that our cars are already at autonomy level 2, which is very advanced. But you should also ask yourself if countries are ready for autonomous driving and not just technologically. There are also many ethical issues to be resolved.

Will there be diesel engines in the next Peugeot launch?

These decisions rest with consumers. I remember a long time ago, when I started at Citroën in 2014, 30% of cars in France had a diesel engine. Now, that percentage has dropped because demand has too. We are waiting for what the market says, and in the market right now diesel is down. Companies, for example, are leaning towards hybrid and electric vehicle fleets. The legislation, in turn, is increasingly restrictive. There are also our own CO2 emission reduction targets…

What are Peugeot’s plans for hydrogen?

We are currently giving priority to hydrogen engines for commercial transport, because it is a sector with large vehicles that travel enormous distances and need to be recharged very quickly. They are often in a hurry and cannot waste time refueling. So this is the first segment we will focus on. We are already creating a whole range of hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles.


Platform designed by the Stellantis group for commercial vehicles powered by hydrogen.

Carlos Tavares, CEO of the group Stellantispredicts battery outage from 2025. How do you plan to solve this problem?

Yes, we are considering the possibility of running out of batteries for electric cars, but something is missing every year. Now we have the chip problem. So far, we have opened four gigafactories of batteries in order not to depend on suppliers and to be self-sufficient. What do you have to do to not lose any components when building a car? Anticipate and know how to design vehicles in a way that does not impact the lack of any product. In addition, of course, to be more efficient and to have a management that allows greater agility.


Stellantis Battery Factory.

Peugeot talks about full electromobility in 2030. And the markets where the transition is slower? Will combustion engines continue to be supplied?

As Carlos Tavares says, Peugeot’s goal is for all cars to be electric by 2030. Now, I’m talking about Europe. In the Old Continent, we want 10% of our cars to be electric by 2030, but in markets where this level of electrification is not yet possible, there will be engines adapted to your needs, regardless of whether we adopt other types of initiatives. In Brazil, for example, although it is a market that is not yet mature, we are going to launch the 208 tram. It is a way of encouraging this type of mobility and adding value to our brand. Brazil will become the leader in the electric car.

When will we see Peugeot’s last combustion engine?

I don’t know. It depends on the countries and how consumers evolve. It would be arrogant of me to say when we will launch the last combustion engine. Sometimes we forget that we are in Europe and that legislation is advancing very fast, but not all markets are like that.

It is a fact that women look at different aspects when buying a car. For example, they focus more on the physical experience. Does this coincide with the strategy of Peugeot’s online shopping platform?

A few years ago some manufacturers decided to make a car for women and it was a total disaster. We want to know the customer experience. That’s why we organize forums for women in Stellantis to really live and find out what they’re looking for. We want to listen to customers, whether they are men or women. Even so, it can be said, broadly speaking, that women tend to pay attention to the details of the security offered by the car, where they will put their children, etc. There are items they look for that are different from what men look for in a car. What interests us most is being able to make the best offer to the customer and propose the best products.

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Do you buy online or in person?

I think both. Of course, there are customers who like the former, and others, including myself – perhaps because I’m a little old-fashioned – who prefer to see the car. Therefore, what we want to offer is the ‘phygital’, physical and digital experience at the same time. Keep in mind that the car, after buying a house, is the most expensive purchase in a person’s life. That’s why there are those who want to see it, touch it, feel it. Now, do I like to spend a lot of time at the dealership signing a lot of documents? Well, no, I’d rather do it online, sitting comfortably on my couch, sipping a glass of champagne. But this is not incompatible with talking to someone from the brand who explains details such as how to recharge, what services the brand offers… I also want to see the color in person, because on the internet you lose nuances. So for all these reasons, we want to offer a combination of digital and physical purchases.

The Peugeot 308 was awarded the top prize of the Women’s World Car of the Year (WWCOTY). What is the best thing about this car?

I love the 308 for several reasons. The first is because it’s the first Peugeot I’ve launched, hahaha. No, seriously, I think it’s a perfect combination of what we want to do at Peugeot and the values ​​we stand for. And those values ​​are three. The first, what we call in France ‘fascination’, the design, the silhouette; I like its unique and bold line and am particularly fascinated by the green color we chose for it. The second value is emotion, because it is very intuitive and has the i-cockpit, which makes driving and handling the car in general easier. The third value is excellence, for its efficiency and aerodynamics. The Peugeot 308 represents this perfectly.

We are living a difficult time in the automotive sector, what can be the role of women in the recovery of this situation?

I believe that the role of women is to defend their position, to be visible and to have a leading role, for example, in the way of changing the ways of working. Women can also push things to get done faster. And in the automotive world, which is mine, I must think that 50% of my customers are women. In fact, a few years ago a study was done in the UK and it was found that in 90% of cases women were behind the purchase decision. The men were the ones who officially acquired the vehicle, but it was the women who said how the car had to be. His ability to influence is very great. Today, women must decide for themselves and be on the front lines because we are in a chaotic and changing world. We have a very important role to play, for example, in terms of sustainability. But are we the only ones who have this responsibility? I don’t think so, we have men and women. Now, women must not deny their role, they must defend it. They have to take their place, just like men, to get to the world we want. But I insist: both one and the other.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Hahahahaha, when I look back on my long career the advice I could give myself is to make the right choice, the right one, and I would also tell myself to have more confidence in myself. Often the situation asks us to step out of our comfort zone, to do something risky that we haven’t faced before, and that scares us. I’m not saying you have to take absurd risks, but take advantage of opportunities and accept challenges you’re not used to. I remember that in 1998, when I came to France, I spoke very little French, and I accepted this challenge and, of course, it has been very useful. Of course, without a job you get nothing, no matter how many opportunities you take and how many risks you take. So that would be the advice I would give myself: take the risks, trust yourself, and maybe the last thing I would say to myself is yes, work, but not as hard as I’ve been doing. Sometimes you have to stop for a while.

What does the WWCOTY award for the Peugeot 308 mean to you?

The award that the Women’s World Car of the Year awarded the Peugeot 308 tells us that the efforts we are making are paying off, that we are on the right track. And that’s a satisfaction. This award is important for two reasons. The first, because a jury of international journalists recognizes Peugeot’s work. And, of course, car experts. The second, because it underlines the importance of women in the automotive industry and in the automotive business, whether in concept, design, experience or simply from the customers’ point of view. That’s why this prize has a double value. This tells me that we are heading in the right direction, which is the same one that Peugeot set out 211 years ago. In other words, to be an innovative brand that challenges the pre-established and offers innovative solutions. This has been our motto since we started building vehicles in 1890, long before any of us were in the auto industry. Our goal has always been to build reliable and affordable vehicles. To this we added three values: having a unique and bold design, bringing emotion to the driver and offering quality without compromise, both for the customer and in terms of safety.

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