Ben Hindsley may not be a household name, but his achievements at Peugeot are legendary. For over 20 years the man challenged the status quo at one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, becoming one of the most important figures in the company. Now in order to shed some light on his achievements, Peugeot has decided to release a profile of everything the Englishman has done for the company, and based on what they’ve released, it appears that they owe him a lot.
Born in Hexham, Northumberland, Ben Hindsley began his interest in cars at the ripe age of 17 when he won the prestigious ‘Young Inventor of Great Britain’ award for a “new type of LED bicycle light that gave 23 times longer battery life.” Whilst many young men lose interest in engineering, Ben continued to expand his passions, gaining a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College and ultimately beginning work for Peugeot soon after he graduated.
Now 37, Ben is “one of only three Brits based at Peugeot’s state-of-the-art R&D centre in Belchamp, France. That’s from a total of some 16,000 staff. ‘When I started in 1999 I was the only Brit there,’ he explained. ‘The joke is I still have a Geordie accent… but not when I speak French!”
His work on the new vehicle has made a tremendous difference. He was in charge of inspecting the new 308’s overall development, being at the heart of every decision. He has had to make many important decisions quickly and carefully. For example, “the car has the perfect pedal layout whether it’s in left-hand drive or right-hand drive. That’s because Ben was present at the first meetings to make sure it was never going to be just a ‘LHD converted to RHD’ car.”
Beyond this, Ben has also had to oversee the prototype testing of the vehicle on UK roads, bringing him back to the UK for a great deal of his testing. Perhaps the best example of his work in this sector dealt with the car’s Adaptive Cruise Control Technology. Ben said that “The radar is set into the left of the bumper so we needed to know it worked properly for right-hand drive cars. We had done most of the work on the track, but nothing replaces real-world testing.” After several thousand miles of driving on UK roads, the results confirmed those established on the track with zero faults.”
Ben has recently said that he and his team are thrilled with the progress of the vehicle. He said: “If I were to choose just one thing, I’d be most proud of the car’s perceived quality, both inside and out. We aimed, and reached, the level of the segment’s best. But I wouldn’t want to choose just one when I know we have a very strong product with many class-leading virtues. I look forward to our customers discovering them”
The new Peugeot 308 is available to order now, with first deliveries due in January 2014. For more information or to book a test drive please call Pentagon Peugeot on 0333 222 0424or visit us at www.pentagon-peugeot.co.uk
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