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Peugeot makes pugnacious prediction

Colour me happy: The Peugeot 307 will have a wide variety of colours to choose from by factory order.

Peugeot Asia Pacific director Frederic Banzet believes the company can double its sales in Australia

11 Jun 2001

A NEW importer, a better distribution network and new products will enable Peugeot to double its sales in two years, director of Peugeot Asia Pacific Frederic Banzet said at the recent 307 launch in Morocco.

Mr Banzet is confident Peugeot can sell up to 6000 cars annually in two to four years' time and 10,000 cars in the long term.

Volume sales will come from new product like the 307, whose success will largely rely on competitive pricing.

Sime Darby's Rob Domm-erson, who last week returned from discussions with Peugeot in France, said pricing for 307 was "looking quite strong." Though pricing will be similar to Golf, Mr Dommerson said 307 would have a higher level of specification.

Also now up for consideration is an XR 1.6 entry level model and Mr Dommerson said buyers would be able to customise their cars by choosing from 307's wide variety of colour combinations by factory order.

While it is common knowledge that Sime Darby is scheduled to replace Inchape as Peugeot importer on January 1, 2002 (it is working to bring forward the change-over date), less known is that Peugeot had considered its own representation here.

"We could have done the Australian distribution ourselves - but have decided not to for internal reasons", Mr Banzet said, suggesting that Peugeot's large investment in other overseas markets such as South America precluded a factory presence in Australia.

An intractable problem for Peugeot under present arrangements is that "dealers are not in line with Peugeot's image, especially in Sydney".

Mr Banzet believes the dealers are willing to invest but first needed some sign of Peugeot's commitment to develop in the market.

He said there would be changes "in terms of quality of premises and quality of service" at dealerships.

Peugeot is considering incentives such as a three-year warranty on its products.

Peugeot luxury models in the past (such as 604 and 605) have never taken hold here so free servicing for 607 was on the table for discussion, Mr Banzet said.

Peugeot has plenty of new product to launch in the next 12 months - the 607, 307 and 206CC.

The 607 could be produced for the Australian market now and Mr Banzet suggested it could be launched within six months by Inchcape.

The 206CC could also be launched now but is not likely because of a high demand in world markets, meaning Peugeot will need to gradually build up sufficient stock for the Australian market.

Peugeot will wait until Sime Darby has taken over before launching the 307. Mr Dommerson said the "best-case scenario" would see the 307 ready to launch under Sime Darby in November.

Plan for three platforms

PSA plans to have 75 per cent of its cars on three platforms by 2002.

The number one platform will be the small car (107/Saxo), number two is the 307/Xsara and third is the 407/C5. A fourth platform belongs to a co-operation MPV with Fiat.

The 206 platform will not be shared and will be phased out at the end of the current model's life cycle, and in the short term PSA says it has no plans to join the 4WD market.

Its next new models include a 307 GTi with a new engine mid-2002, a 307CC replacing the 306 Cabriolet mid-2003 and the 406 replacement, the 407, due in late 2003.

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