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Frankfurt show: Peugeot to ditch 13 models in revamp

Half time: The Peugeot RCZ is on the chopping block, along with other model range orphans in the Peugeot fleet.

Peugeot boss says model range to halve by 2020 to focus on mainline machinery

Peugeot logo17 Sep 2015

PEUGEOT is set to reduce its model lines by half by the turn of the decade, as the French car-maker moves back into the black.

On the chopping block are cars not aligned with current model ranges, such as the RCZ, RCZ-R and 208CC, while the future of the Mitsubishi ASX-based 4008 crossover – Peugeot's second best-selling model in Australia – is uncertain.

Of the 26 models on the company’s books currently, Peugeot Group CEO Maxime Picat said he plans to keep just 13, including three or four SUVs, with the others to be phased out by 2020.

“The worldwide range in 2013/14 was 26 cars. Target is 13 in 2020 plus,” Mr Picat told Australian journalists at the Frankfurt motor show.

“The situation in 2015 is the first 13 in sales in the world represent 99 per cent of my sales worldwide, and for more than 100 per cent of my profitability.

So no risk. We have already cleaned the situation. I have already got my best 13 cars I want to focus on.

“But by 2020 it maybe another 13, depending on how the market could evolve.”

Mr Picat acknowledged the rapid growth of the SUV sector, suggesting that it was now incorrect to merely call it a trend. He did sound a note of warning, though, that his company needs to find the Next Big Thing – and soon.

“We are not going for 100 per cent of SUV (sales),” he said. “People want SUVs now because of the high seating, and the fact that they are easy to get out of, and because they want to be different than their neighbours. Tomorrow, all the neighbours might have SUVs. This is a problem.

“Some countries like US and Australia are more SUV in their DNA, but one day that trend will have to change. (Customers) will want to differentiate again, and we want to invent something else to help them differentiate.

“That is one of my favourite questions of the moment – what will be the next trend after SUVs? There is no answer at the moment.”

Mr Picat singled out the RCZ and the 208CC as examples of cars that the brand would banish in the next five years.

“I have great affection for both these cars,” he said, “ and I have driven thousands of kilometres in them. But when you sell an RCZ, you do nothing to promote or extend the brand as a whole. If you sell a 308 GTi, you help the entire 308 line.”

He also admitted that the company’s focus had been misdirected, with not enough emphasis placed on at-the-time key vehicles.

Peugeot’s base performers will include cars from the 208, 308, 408, 508, 2008 and 3008 ranges, while the future of the 4008 – Australia’s second most popular Peugeot with 662 sales in 2015 – is not as clear-cut.

Mr Picat was lukewarm at best about the possibility of continuing the brand’s partnership with Mitsubishi. The 4008 and the ASX are essentially the same cars under the skin.

“Today, we are continuing with the 4008 and the relationship with Mitsubishi, but I have not decided on a future generation with them, either” he said. “We have not decided to renew any relationships or make any new developments.”

Mr Picat acknowledged that the 4008 has bolstered sales in certain territories where overall market share is low, but the numbers are not adding up.

“In terms of sales, I would say the results are not so good worldwide, but in recent times it has helped some countries to have an offer (in the SUV segment) where we were not,” he said. “Where would Peugeot have been without 4008 in some countries? I don’t know, so it has helped.”

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