Make / Model Search

Future models - Peugeot - 308

Peugeot stands by with lower-powered 308

Base jump: Peugeot Australia may look to introduce a base 81kW petrol version of the 308 if currency pressures force up the price of the current entry variant.

Currency-driven rises may force Peugeot to introduce base 1.2-litre 308

26 Feb 2015

UPDATED: 3/03/2015PEUGEOT has a greener, smaller-output 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo engine at the ready for the Australian 308 range should currency fluctuations put further price pressure on the French-built hatch and wagon.

With the volume-selling mid-range Active 96kW e-THP 1.2-litre petrol hatch and Allure 110kW BlueHDi 2.0-litre turbo-diesel models increasing between $500 and $1000 with the upgraded model range launched last week, Peugeot is watching where competitors such as Volkswagen and Mazda will go with their respective base Golf 90TSI and 3 Neo rivals before making a decision on the entry-level 308.

While basically the same EB-series three-cylinder turbocharged engine as found in the 96kW/230Nm e-THP, the 1.2 ‘PureTech’ S&S is a step down in terms of output and acceleration but offers improved environmental performance as well as the means for Peugeot to potentially drop its baseline price for the 308 to around $20,000.

The Euro 6 emissions-compliant engine produces 81kW of power at 5500rpm and 205Nm of torque at 1500rpm. Paired with a five-speed manual gearbox (down a ratio compared to the higher-output version), it can send the 308 from 0-100km/h in 11.8 seconds, but with the assistance of a standard automatic idle-stop system can return combined-cycle fuel economy of 4.6 litres per 100km.

Carbon dioxide emissions come in at just 107 grams per kilometre.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia general manager John Startari told GoAuto last week that pricing of the current Access 96kW e-THP – at $21,990 plus on-road costs for the manual, with auto adding $2000 – should hold firm for at least the next six months.

“The price rises were forced by the sudden movement of exchange rates, but we’ve captured it now for the time being,” he said. “If you look at the historical exchange rates, the six-month average actually has come down.

“None of the price-leader cars have moved, and that’s something we worked hard to achieve. The package is now set for the six to 12 months unless there is a dramatic move in exchange rates.”

Underlining Mr Startari’s concerns about getting the entry-level model mix right is the fact that the 308 has so far attracted returning Peugeot buyers rather than the fresh conquest sales he had initially anticipated.

This is evidenced by the high proportion of upper-end purchases, such as the $38,000 diesel Allure Touring wagon that is currently attracting almost one-in-three customers overall.

“At the moment we’re selling to the traditional Peugeot buyer, so it is skewing our mix to the higher end,” he said. “Our whole intention of bringing the Access grade was to appeal to a whole new market, a younger buyer, and tackle rivals.” Peugeot Australia product manager Pavel Meck said that the small-car market is dynamic and does not stand still for long, and added that there are plans in the pipeline for different engine options to keep the brand as competitive as possible should demand dictate.

“We will always strive to provide the market with what it wants,” he said. “If there are remote movements from competitors, we are always proactive not reactive, and we always do monitor the markets, but if there is something surprising that comes up … we can adjust our product as required.

“If there is demand from the market for a lower-output engine at a lower price point, then by all means we can definitely study that.

“But at the moment the car has been released with the 96kW 1.2-litre turbo, it has received glowing reviews on how it drives and the dynamics of the vehicle.

“We are on a good thing and at the moment so there is no need to change that.

The customer feedback has been positive, but in the future – and if competitors also take that road – then that is something that we have to look at.

Mr Meck said that the French car-maker’s local arm would try to ensure the 308 line-up is as streamlined as possible so as to not overwhelm potential buyers.

“It would also be a matter of rationalising the product line-up, so you don’t want to have too many variants in there. We would like it to be as clear as possible and as easy as possible for our dealers and customers to understand the entire product line-up so they can offer customers exactly what they want.

“When you get down to offering too many engines and too many variants it can convolute the product line-up a bit.”

Along with the lower-output 81kW e-THP 1.2-litre turbo triple, it is believed Peugeot has also certified the 60kW/118Nm 1.2-litre naturally aspirated three-cylinder petrol unit currently serving the base versions of the 208 light car and 2008 crossover.

“The naturally aspirated (1.2) was available for this market … but we elected not to bring that engine in,” Mr Startari said, adding that he is extremely pleased with the 96kW e-THP version of the 308 as it stands.

“The current car is starting from $21,990 (plus on-road costs), it is European car of the year, and we want people to be delighted when they enter the showrooms and drive the car, rather than have a car with an engine that – in essence – does not live up to the chassis, because the chassis can obviously take a lot more power,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mr Startari said he is ready to react to any shifts in the cut-throat market.

“The reason we have dedicated resources in product planning is to monitor the market, and ultimately the market will decide what our product looks like,” he said.

“With market equilibrium, they will decide the price. If our competitors can do it, there is no reason why we can’t.”

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Peugeot models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here