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Peugeot kicks off light commercials with three offerings

Bonjour Partner: The small Peugeot Partner van is based on the Berlingo.

French chase profitable light commercials as part of local model onslaught

25 Sep 2006

PEUGEOT Automobiles Australia will join Renault and Fiat late next year with a move into the competitive light commercial vehicle market.

It plans to launch three LCVs, the small Partner, mid-size Expert and large Boxer, with a range of load-lugging diesel engines.

The arrival of the commercial line-up will supplement Peugeot’s expanding small car line-up, which will see the arrival of the new 207 petrol and turbo-diesel two-door, five-door and a direct-injection 112kW 1.6-litre petrol turbocharged GT in March.

Peugeot is also expected to build a hotter RC version of the 207, which could also come to Australia.

The RC is tipped to have about 134kW from its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine and is expected to be unveiled at this month’s Paris motor show.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia managing director, Rob Dommerson, had hoped to have the 207 on sale by December but said the company wanted to wait for the new range of sophisticated four-cylinder engines to come on stream.

The joint-venture 207 engines were developed by a PSA Peugeot Citroen-BMW alliance and are more powerful and economical than the engines they replace.

The same engines will be used in the new Mini, which also goes on sale here early next year.

Even when the new replacement for the 206 arrives, Peugeot plans to sell its 206 XR as an entry level 1.4-litre model priced around $17,000, alongside the bigger, safer and better equipped newcomer.

The 206 remains popular with 1071 hatch and 353 convertible sales so far this year. Last year Peugeot collectively sold 1933 206 hatches and convertibles.

Mr Dommerson heads to Paris this week to finalise pricing and specifications for the new light commercial line-up.

He believes the range of commericials "will be price competitive" with its rivals, which means the Partner should be similarly priced to its Euro-rival, the Citroen Berlingo at around $16,000, the Expert under $30,000 and the larger Boxer about $36,000, close to the Fiat Ducato.

Mr Dommerson is confident Peugeot sales this year will hit more than 8000 vehicles, eclipsing last year’s 7025 total, on the back of rising interest in its expanded 307 range.

Adding the LCVs and 207 to the range next year would help bolster overall sales to between 8500 and 9500, he said.

By 2008 the company expected to sell 10,000 vehicles annually.

The company has also just added a six-speed manual HDi version of its successful 407 sedan, to be called the SR, priced from $41,990.

WHAT’S COMING:
307 HDi (a) September
407 SR September
207 hatch March 2007
207 GT March 2007
Peugeot 207 CC October 2007
207 RC October 2007
Partner LCV November 2007
Expert LCV November 2007
Boxer LCV November 2007

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