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Peugeot Australia hits expansion button

One of three: The 5008 seven-seat people-mover is on the cards for Australia from May next year (image at bottom of page is the 2008 concept).

Three new model lines and a new 308 on the agenda for Peugeot Australia by 2014

20 Sep 2012

PEUGEOT Australia showrooms are set to swell, with the company’s local importer gearing up for a roll-out of extra product over the next 18 months including three brand new model lines and the next-generation, more upmarket 308.

In a bid to return to its record 2007 Australian sales levels, the company will add the 5008 people-mover, 408 small sedan and 2008 compact crossover to its existing model range by the end of next year, and cap it off with the all-important new 308 due in the first quarter of 2014.

Alongside this will be a raft of existing model facelifts, including the Partner and Expert vans (end of 2012), RCZ coupe (March 2013), 3008 crossover (end of 2013) and the hotter 194kW RCZ R (special orders commence end of 2013).

March next year will also see the arrival of the highly-anticipated 208 GTI hot hatch, which the company says marks a return to the glory days of the 205, and possibly the luxurious Citroen DS3-rivalling 208 XY.

At this week’s launch of the 208 city car (see separate story), Peugeot Australia director Bill Gillespie told GoAuto the company would “do everything we can to bring new models to market and grow our sales” to an annual sales figure of between 8000 and 9000 units by 2014.

 center imageLeft: Bill Gillespie. Below: Peugeot Partner, RCZ R and 408.

“Certainly you wouldn't bring an all-new 308 to market, and all those other cars, if you didn't think you could get incremental sales,” he said.

This figure would return the French company to the heyday of 2007 when it sold a record 8807 units here, and would arrest a sales slump this year of 5.4 per cent to the end of August – chiefly a result of falling sales of its ageing 207 and 308 stalwarts.

The barrage comes against the background of a 15 per cent Peugeot sales dip in the stagnant European market for the first half of 2012, causing a half-year loss of €819 million.

Despite the drop, Mr Gillespie said local dealer profits had increased over the past six months for its 40-strong Australian network, with higher-margin new vehicles like the 508 improving the mix and the addition of capped-price servicing helping with customer retention.

Still, it is not a one-way street, with the new model blitz to be countered by the lack of a replacement of the soon-to-be-discontinued 4007 compact SUV (based on the Mitsubishi Outlander).

Likewise, the new-generation 208 will not spawn a convertible successor to the 207CC, with sales of the hard-topped cabriolet to cease here in 2013.

As we have reported, Peugeot has also told its Australian arm that it has halted hot weather development of its diesel-electric Hybrid 4 3008 and 508RXH variants.

Furthermore, Mr Gillespie said the company would only consider importing the successor to the 107 city car (not sold in Australia) as a rival for the likes of the Volkswagen Up if it could secure the car for “under $16,000”, and even then it would remain wary.

The 5008 is a seven-seat wagon rival for the Honda Odyssey (and the Grand Picasso from sister brand Citroen) that will be offered in one specification level and with one turbo-petrol or turbo-diesel engine.

The 408 is a sedan version of the current 308 designed primarily for developing markets and to be imported here from Malaysia as a rival from the Volkswagen Jetta. The single specification, petrol/automatic only model should retail from around $28,000.

The 2008, which is making a public debut next week at the Paris motor show, will enter the rapidly expanding small crossover market against the Holden Trax, Ford EcoSport and possibly the Nissan Juke (which is under consideration for Australia).

Peugeot Australia new model roll-out:Oct 2012 – 208
Nov 2012 – Partner and Expert facelift
March 2013 – RCZ facelift
May 2013 – 5008
May 2013 – 208 GTI
Aug/Sept 2013 – 408
Q4 2013 – 3008 facelift
Q4 2013 - RCZ R
Dec 2013/Jan 2014 – 2008
Q1 2014 – 308

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