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Future models - Peugeot - 108

Baby Pug back on local agenda

Left: Peugeot's 107 light car - set to be replaced by the 108 in 2013 - never made it here due to the high cost of meeting Australian Design Rules.

Peugeot’s replacement for Euro-only 107 on the cards, but probably not before 2013

Peugeot logo26 Jul 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

PEUGEOT Australia is investigating the viability of a sub-B-segment hatch to slot in beneath the forthcoming 208 after that car arrives in the second half of next year.

Dubbed the 108 and due in Europe from 2013 at the earliest, it would be a replacement for the highly successful 107 series that dates back to 2005.

Like that car, the 108 will be produced at a dedicated site at Kolin in the Czech Republic with sister brand Citroen and partner Toyota, which offer versions of the 107 as the C1 and Aygo respectively.

If given the green light for Australia, the baby Peugeot will compete against the likes of the expected Volkswagen Up, as well as the established Suzuki Alto and Holden Barina Spark.

The segment is also set to see the Kia Picanto in the not-too-distant future, while Skoda’s version of the Up is also under consideration for Australia.

A decision is anticipated shortly, as Peugeot Automobiles Australia will have to decide if it will homologate the 108 for this country.

Three years ago, the existing 107 was under consideration for Down Under, but the cost and resources of meeting the various Australian Design Rule processes back then, combined with specification issues (including no automatic transmission availability) and limited supply due to consistently high demand in Europe, forced PAA to put its baby car plans aside.

23 center imageToyota did the majority of the Aygo/107/C1 development after it and PSA Peugeot Citroen announced the B-Zero program at the 2002 Geneva motor show.

Sitting on a 2340mm wheelbase and with a length of 3430mm, the 107 is considerably smaller than its 207 sibling and is powered by a choice of a Toyota-derived 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine or PSA 1.4-litre turbo-diesel, driving the front wheels via a five-speed manual or automated manual gearbox.

But the 108 will probably grow a little and gain a range of new-generation convenience and safety items to stay competitive in the hotly contested sub-B class in Europe.

“It’s on the wish list,” confirmed PAA general manager Ken Thomas.

“(The existing 107) wasn’t homologated for Australia from the very beginning – not that it couldn’t be, but it costs money. Plus we couldn’t get an allocation of stock. The timing was not right.

“The suggestion is that there is a 108. It has been pushed back but I don’t know why. It was due to be launched this year and now there may even be a 107 upgrade soon, meaning that the 108 won’t be introduced until 2013, so there is a little ways to go before we see that car yet.”

Mr Thomas admitted that positioning a premium European sub-B light car might be an issue since Australian consumers expect high standards of safety, equipment and performance.

“Relative to pricing, we have to be mindful on how a 108 fits in the line-up,” he said.

“I am delighted to keep the car on our radar, but I just don’t know if or when it will happen.”

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