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Future models - Peugeot - 207

Peugeot trips the light fantastic

Small things come...: Peugeot's 1007 micro (above) is due here in 2007, while the 407 Coupe (below, top) goes on sale next year and the 907 Concept (bottom) could also morph into a production super-coupe.

A redesigned 207 light car and a light 4WD headline Peugeot’s next wave of new metal

10 Nov 2005

PEUGEOT will undergo a hive of new-model activity inside the next five years, which will include an all-new light car, a debutant in the light-4WD segment, improved drivetrains and business ventures in South-East Asia.

Last month, Peugeot released the much-needed 307 facelift in Australia, and the new 407 Coupe in twin turbo-diesel and petrol V6 guises will begin to trickle through to dealers in the second quarter of next year.

But there is much more on the horizon, including a 206-replacing 207 light car, which is expected in concept form at the Geneva motor show in March and in full production trim at the Paris motor show in September.

Described as "evolutionary" in design by one company insider, the 207 will be built on a modified version of the existing Citroen C3 platform and have a significantly larger and roomier body that will bridge today’s 206 and theexisting 307, making it roughly the same size as the 1993-2001 Peugeot 306.

The platform points to a conventional MacPherson strut front and a torsion beam rear suspension set-up, however, a new range of multi-valve twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engines will debut with the car.

Co-developed with BMW and believed to come in 1.2-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre capacities, the engine family will feature direct-injection and variable valvetiming technology.

Power outputs will range from 55kW to 105kW, with a 125kW 1.6-litre version for top-end turbocharged varieties.

This new engine family will also feature in the next-generation Mini due in 2007.

Revised versions of today’s 1.4- and 1.6-litre HDI turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines are also slated for the 207.

Crucially, prices are expected to creep up from today’s 206 as the company will continue offering the latter car as an entry-level model in some markets – butprobably not Australia.

Now a sprightly seven-year-old, the 206 is as popular as ever in many places worldwide, so Peugeot intends to continue building it for a number of years into the 207’s lifetime.

It is a time-honoured strategy the company has used for decades. The 1983 205, for instance, was sold well into the life of the 106 and 306 – two models that were meant to replace it.

The 206 five-door hatchback is soon to start production in Malaysia to serve theSouth-East Asia region, however, a Peugeot spokesman said this would not include Australia "at this stage".

23 center imageHe also said the Chinese-built 307 sedan – which in its first year on sale in China secured a 1.5 per cent market share – was not scheduled for export, although a shift in policy (and in production from left-hand drive to RHD) could change with the 308 sedan due around 2009.

An assessment of its export and right-hand drive potential has started, with a decision on the next car expected by early 2007.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited automatic versions of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder HDI turbo-diesel engines Peugeot has developed with Ford are due to arrive in Australia mid-2006.

A small 4WD wagon known as the 7007 and based on the second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander is also in the works and is expected at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney next October, with sales commencing in 2007.

The seven-seater 4WD – to be about the size of a Nissan X-Trail – will have a different (407-ish) nose, revised tail-lights and extensive trim changes to give it more of a French flavour.

It will also offer a turbo-diesel engine, in addition to petrol engines believed to include a 3.0-litre V6 and a 2.4-litre MIVEC four-cylinder unit using a six-speed CVT automatic gearbox.

Drive will be electronically distributed front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive when conditions require more grip, although a constant-4WD application will also be available. Mitsubishi in Japan will build only 20,000 for Peugeot and Citroen annually. The latter should carry the C7 moniker.

According to Peugeot’s director for Asia Pacific International Operations, Frederic Fabre, the arrangement with Mitsubishi will be beneficial for both companies.

"We wanted access to the Outlander’s style of technology, while Mitsubishi needs to get additional volume to improve its return on investment," he said.

Next year will also be crunch time for the 1007. Pronounced "10-oh-seven" (since movie studio MGM apparently complained to Peugeot that "one-double-oh-seven" infringes on James Bond copyright), its future in Australia will be decided sometime in 2006.

Currently under evaluation, this four-seater light hatchback has two sliding side doors, a spacious and accommodating interior and class-leading crash-test safety ratings. It is based on the Citroen C2 platform but the two do not sharebody panels.

In Europe, the 1007 has three four-cylinder engine choices (a 1.4-litre petrol, 1.4-litre HDI and 1.6-litre petrol), although Peugeot in Australia has indicated that only the petrol models would make it.

Peugeot has also said that 1007 prices in Australia would potentially range between $22,000 and about $27,000.

A replacement for the slow-selling 607 is expected in 2007. Dubbed 608, it will share many mechanical components with Citroen’s lavish new C6 luxury hatchback.

Driving the front wheels, the high-series engine is believed to be a variation of the 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel, also co-developed with Ford.

A six-speed automatic will be the only transmission slated for the car in Australia when it arrives sometime during 2008.

Around that time, the Peugeot 3008 should also debut. This car will be the company’s long-overdue answer to the Renault Scenic, but will feature a number of novel design and packaging ideas to set it apart. Sliding doors may be just one.

As the name suggests, the 307’s replacement, the 308, will provide the necessary frame for this compact multi-seater Peugeot to operate within.

New-generation petrol and HDI engines ranging up to 2.4 litres are believed to be in development for the 308/3008 family.

By 2010 there should also be a 308CC and Touring/SW versions, as well as a dedicated three-box sedan to sell in the booming Chinese and Indian markets.

What's coming from Peugeot:

407 coupe - 2006
207 small car - 2007
7007 4WD - 2007
1007 light car - 2007
608 luxury car - 2007
308 small car - 2008
3008 mini-MPV - 2008
308 CC - 2010
308 Touring - 2010

No commercials as Pug works on its ‘humility’

SLOW but steady is how Peugeot will seek to consolidate and grow its business in Australia.

The French manufacturer has forecast 7000 new-car sales this year – twice the number it was selling in 2000 and 2001, for example – and it expects to continue growing volume in the coming years.

"I won’t give you any dates (but) we believe in the mid-term that there is the potential to hit the 10,000 mark," said Peugeot’s director for Asia Pacific International Operations, Frederic Fabre.

The recently facelifted 307 range is expected to provide the bulk of next year’s sales volume.

In recent times, the just-superseded model suffered as the oldest car in the fiercely competitive premium small-car segment.

But the significant upgrade that comes with the Series II makeover should give Peugeot more effective ammunition against rivals including the Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Holden Astra and Renault Megane.

A long-awaited automatic transmission version of the HDI turbo-diesel models, as well as a larger spread of models using it, should boost the 307’s appeal in Australia.

Also significant is the second-quarter introduction of the 407 Coupe. With strong styling and an impressive twin-turbo 2.7-litre HDI engine on offer, as well as an upgraded 3.0-litre V6, the luxury coupe has the potential to carve out a profitable niche.

Aiding its course in this extremely image-conscious market is the fact that its main competition, BMW’s 3 Series coupe and Mercedes-Benz’s CLK, are both ageing and more expensive.

These, along with the 206-replacing 207 small car and a 4WD wagon, both of which are due in 2007, and 308/3008 small-car successors to the 307 should help Peugeot hit its sales targets.

Unlike Renault, Peugeot intends to achieve this without introducing light-commercial vehicles to Australia – that is, within the next five years.

In Europe, Peugeot is a major player with its Citroen Berlingo-based Partner light van, mid-sized Expert or big Boxer van.

"Before we get into LCVs we need to keep strengthening the brand and increase brand awareness fi rst," said Mr Fabre. "It is too early for the brand. We need to be cautious, and to show humility before we proceed.

"We need to work, and to work, and to work to get there. If we rush, we may be disappointed."

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