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Peugeot 408 under a cloud?

Pleasure and pain: Despite its rich list of safety gear, Peugeot importer Sime Darby is still unsure if the 408 sedan will make it here.

Lack of safety ratings hurt hopes of Peugeot 408 sedan’s arrival

29 Apr 2013


A LACK of crash test data is likely to halt the launch of Peugeot’s Chinese-made Volkswagen Jetta rival in Australia.

Peugeot importer Sime Darby has announced that a lack of independent crash data means it is likely to pass on the Chinese-made but Malaysian-assembled 408 sedan, despite its strong list of safety features.

Originally due late last year, Sime Darby was hopeful that the 408 could be made available in Australia by the end of this year.

Standard equipment on the 408 sold overseas runs to anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and a full suite of airbags.

“The 408 may not make it to Australia after all,” according to a Peugeot insider. “It hasn’t been tested by (independent crash test authority) NCAP.”

Already three years old in China, sales of the current-generation car started in Latin America in 2011, with other markets – namely Russia and Malaysia – receiving it last year.

It is based on the soon-to-be-replaced first-generation 308 hatch, and uses much of the small car’s hardware including a MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension system.

However, the sedan is built on a wheelbase stretched 100mm, making it more suitable for the Asian, South American, and Eastern European markets that it serves.

It features much more rear-seat legroom, dedicated rear-passenger ventilation outlets, and a Holden Commodore-beating 562-litre boot.

The 408 is close to the size of the 407 sedan, introduced in 2004, which it replaced in some markets. The latter was sidelined for the 508 in Australia during 2011.

In Malaysia, the 408 is powered by either a 107kW/200Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine or a 122kW/240Nm 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol unit, driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

Other than the changes to rear-seat legroom, most of the interior mirrors the 308 hatchback.

The 408 is part of Peugeot’s attempt move its range beyond a purely European focus, and was developed for markets with the most potential for sales increases.

Although Australia is likely to drop out of contention, Peugeot in Malaysia says its facility can supply other markets including Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Brunei, the Philippines and Bangladesh.

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