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Future models - Peugeot - 407

Mugged by Pugs in product offensive

Sports Touring: Peugeot's wagon shaped 307 ST is due on sale in Australia late this year.

Peugeot Australia plans nine new models or variants within the next couple of years

11 Jun 2003

PEUGEOT Australia will continue the product offensive that has seen it almost double sales in the past 12 months, with no fewer than four new or facelifted models due on sale in 2003 alone.

The action starts in about three months when Peugeot's entry level model, the 206 hatch, will be facelifted.

Chromed number plate flanks, clear-lens tail-lights and a honeycomb grille will be part of a mild cosmetic makeover for the 206 line-up, which is expected to continue to comprise three and five-door XR, five-door XT and three-door GTi variants.

This year's Sydney motor show will be a new model feast for Peugeot fans with no fewer than three new models due to be launched, with sales to begin soon after in October.

Top of the list is the hottest 206 to date, the GTi 180. Likely to be priced around $35,000, the 130kW three-door 206 will be pitched directly at Holden's Astra Turbo and the Ford Focus ST170.

The new 206 flagship is expected to sell at a strong rate of about 30 cars per month in 2004, after this year's initial shipment of 100 cars is snapped up.

It's likely, however, the 206 GTi 180 will be overshadowed in Sydney by the replacement for the venerable 306 cabriolet, the new 307 CC (Coupe-Convertible).

Due on sale in Europe in late September, the sharp new open-topped 307 will hit showrooms here just a month later.

With two engine choices - including the 100kW 2.0-litre four found in the 206 CC and GTi, and the 206 GTi 180's uprated 130kW unit - Peugeot expects to sell around 500 units in its first year.

While 307 CC is being billed as Australia's first full four-seater cabriolet to feature a metal-folding roof, just as much interest should be stirred up by the appearance in Sydney of the 307 SW.

To be launched here as the 307 ST (Sports Touring) and due on sale in late November or early December, the uniquely styled, wagon-shaped 307 will be keenly priced at a $2000 premium over five-door 307 hatch. And 1.6 and 2.0-litre versions are also likely to be offered.

Peugeot's biggest launch will be reserved for the replacement for the popular 406 medium sedan, the 407

About 500 sales per annum are also expected of the 307 ST, which will come here in five-seat guise only, unlike in Europe where a seven-seat, glass-roofed version is also on offer.

Mimicking its larger sibling, the 206 ST will kick off 2004 for Peugeot, with 400 annual sales expected of the single-model 1.6-litre 206-based wagon when it arrives here around April next year. As with 307 ST, expect a $2000 price hike over the 206 XT five-door.

But Peugeot's biggest launch will be reserved for the replacement for the popular 406 medium sedan, the 407.

Due to appear at this year's Frankfurt motor show in September and to go on sale in Europe by February next year, 407 should be available here around August.

With the current 406 sedan - available in two trim levels and with three engines choices ranging between $39,000 and $56,000 - still commanding up to 40 sales per month, its all-new replacement is expected to at least double this sales volume with annual sales of more than 1000 cars.

Expect a wagon variant of the 407 only two months later, including a seven-seater turbo-diesel variant, while 406 coupe customers will rejoice with the prospect of an all-new model 12 months later in 2005.

Peugeot Australia will not import the mildly facelifted 406 coupe - due on sale in Europe (but not the UK) by the end of 2003 - and will exhaust its current supply of the sleek two-doors some 12 months before its successor arrives.

Finally, Peugeot will release what is likely to be the smallest Pug ever sold in Australia when the successor to the current 106, the three-door 107 hatch, goes on sale here in 2005.

Expected to closely resemble Peugeot's Sesame concept car, the production car will feature twin sliding doors, but not the show car's power-operated items.

It is believed Peugeot's large people-mover, the 807, is off the immediate agenda for Australia, while Peugeot CEO Frederic Saint-Geours has also confirmed a serious sports car and an SUV are not a priority for development at Peugeot HQ.

Of an SUV, he said: "It's true that more than 50 per cent of the American market is trucks. But normal cars - those like we sell in Europe - are also increasing. European makers are experiencing steady growth, so we are not considering this now." Mr Saint-Geours said Peugeot would produce about 25 new cars or derivatives between now and 2006, but all but confirmed an out-and-out sports car would not be one of them.

"We are a volume manufacturer, but it's impossible to cover 100 per cent of the market," he said.

"Our objective is to cover 90 per cent and we are close to that. It's true that we don't have a four-wheel drive or a really sporty sports car, but we don't have unlimited money to invest in both China, South America and the US.

"So we have to choose and it's a question of return on investment. So we choose not to develop a four-wheel drive or a real sports car - which isn't to say we aren't interested.

"However, simply to cover off 90 per cent of the market requires the development of new models. So it's not as if we're not developing more new cars, and we think we've been able to design not necessarily sports cars, but dynamic ones."

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