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Drive Peugeot’s 208 GTi – then hand it back

Flipping hot: Peugeot says most owners only hold onto their cars for two or three years anyway.

Peugeot to offer short-term lease programs on firebrand 208 GTi hatch

7 May 2013

PEUGEOT is about to give Australian drivers the chance to jump behind the wheel of its 208 GTi hot hatch – and swap for a new one after just a couple of years.

The French car-maker has confirmed the soon-to-arrive $29,990 GTi, powered by a 147kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, will be included in its current finance offer that guarantees a buy-back price in as early as two years.

The deal will be offered across the 208 range, the car-maker says, and customers will be able to keep the car at the end of the agreed period, or hand it back for a new one.

In return, buyers must – among other things – pay a monthly rate that can include all servicing costs, ensure the GTi is brought into a workshop at the appropriate intervals, keep it clean, neat and without major wear to the tyres, and agree to drive no more than a set distance each year.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia general manager Bill Gillespie said the finance offer was another first for a premium car brand in Australia, but was not designed as a means of driving up sales.

“We’ve not really made this leasing deal as a sales tool,” Mr Gillespie said.

“It’s really a tool for anyone who has issues with the residual value of European cars.”

Under the deal, the Peugeot-badged vehicle will be inspected by a dealership four months before the lease expires, with the customer then given an opportunity to fix any problems before the handover takes place.

Mr Gillespie said Peugeot’s two- or three-year deal reflected how long many Peugeot owners held on to their vehicles.

“Peugeot owners flip through their cars that frequently now,” he said.

“We have a very high customer retention rate, with about 85 per cent of Peugeot owners buying another Peugeot.

“We’re hoping with this deal that we will get customers in through the door that may have not considered a Peugeot before, and hang onto the brand.”

Mr Gillespie said Peugeot was also trying to shake off an undeserved image that European cars were less reliable than other vehicles.

“I don’t know of any more issues with Peugeot-badged cars than Toyota has with the Camry. Peugeot’s cars are no worse than the reputation of any other brand,” he said.

“The Camry’s residuals are very poor compared with Peugeot’s, so we’re trying to get around that by offering buyers the opportunity to drive it and pay one monthly fee, and at the end of the deal we buy it back from them for an agreed price.”

Mr Gillespie said the French car-maker took pride in the fact that it was the first premium brand in Australia to offer capped-price servicing.

“We’re trying to keep cars inside Peugeot’s service network,” he said.

“The cars serviced in the Peugeot network come out a lot better at the end of it, which also helps residual values.”

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