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Melbourne show countdown for Peugeot 508

Coupe too: Peugeot's SR1 concept car is a likely pointer to a 508 coupe.

Peugeot banks on new prestige 508 to help get its sales back on track in 2011

6 Sep 2010

PEUGEOT Automobiles Australia (PAA) is banking on sharper value and new models such as its the RCZ sports coupe and forthcoming 508 mid-sizer to help lift annual sales back to 7000 vehicles by next year.

The all-new 508 – replacing both the slow-selling 407 and defunct 607 luxury car in a single BMW 5 Series competitor – will be launched on to the Australian market at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne in July next year.

It will go on sale in the third quarter of 2011 in four-door Saloon guise, followed later in the year by the 508 Touring wagon.

PAA general manager Ken Thomas also hinted that a coupe variant might be in the pipeline, pointing to the SR1 concept car shown by Automobiles Peugeot in Europe early this year as a potential two-door 508.

Speaking at last week’s Peugeot RCZ sports coupe launch in Queensland, Mr Thomas said the SR1 was being tested by Peugeot, adding: “You might find that is your 508 coupe.”

Mr Thomas confirmed that the 508 range would also include e-HDi idle-stop fuel-saving technology on a diesel engine of either 2.0- or 2.2-litre capacity.

23 center imageFrom top: Peugeot 508 Saloon, Peugeot 508 Touring, Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4, Peugeot Automobiles Australia general manager and director Ken Thomas.

The 508 will be formally unveiled at this month’s Paris motor show, where it is likely to be armed with PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s Hybrid4 diesel-electric powertrain that is also eventually expected to be offered for sale in the 508 range.

Mr Thomas said PAA was planning to reverse its 4.1 per cent sales decline so far this year by lifting sales in the second half of 2010 by 10 per cent, to 6000 units, from last year’s 5744 vehicles.

He said the importer – owned by major international independent vehicle distributor Sime Darby – was then planning to edge sales up to 7000 units in 2011.

Last year’s sales, hurt by a decline in 407 and 207 volumes, was the lowest Peugeot tally in Australia since it posted 3452 sales in 2001.

For most of the past decade, Peugeot sales have hovered around the 7000-8000 mark, and PAA hopes to restore those levels by as early as next year.

Mr Thomas said the French marque – which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year – had been lifted this year with the arrival of the 3008 crossover, which had found solid acceptance in the marketplace.

Last month, the 3008 was Peugeot’s third-bestselling model behind the 207 and 308, on 66 sales for the month for a total of 207 units since launch in July.

Mr Thomas confirmed that a diesel-electric hybrid version of the 3008 would become PAA’s first hybrid model when it arrived “very soon after the European launch” in 2012.

The world-first diesel Hybrid4 system powers the front wheels with a conventional HDi diesel engine while providing electric drive via the rear wheels.

In the meantime, the just-released RCZ sports coupe is expected to deliver about 30 sales a month, simply because this is the supply limit of the car for Australia from niche vehicle manufacturer Magna Steyr in Austria.

But most of the volume increase predicted by PAA is dependent on sharper pricing and newly-released special editions for the entry-level 207 light car and 308 small car.

PAA recently cut the base price for the 207 five-door hatch by $2000 to $19,900 (plus statutory and dealer charges), while adding a $21,990 special edition, called 207 Sportium, with extra features.

Now the 308 also gets the Sportium treatment, at $31,490 for the hatch and $34,490 for the Touring wagon, with either 1.6-litre HDi or petrol powertrains.

And from early 2011, the ‘CC’ coupe convertible 207 and 308 models will also branch out into Sportium mode, with features and prices to be confirmed.

Mr Thomas said that by the end of this year all Peugeot cars and SUVs sold in Australia would be Euro 5 emissions compliant.

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