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Peugeot in SUV holding pattern

Uncertain future: The ASX-based 4008 is one of Peugeot’s most successful cars locally, but the Franco-Japanese relationship is not expected to be renewed.

Repositioned 208 and popular 308 will help Peugeot mark time to new SUV arrival

Peugeot logo21 Oct 2015

WHILE the SUV sector continues to blow apart all sales records, Peugeot Australia needs to wait for next-generation C- and D-SUVs to percolate out of Paris.

The company has used the launch of the facelifted 208 to push itself into the sub-$20,000 price bracket for the first time ever, but its ageing SUV offerings will need to struggle through for at least another 12 months before replacements are released.

Currently, Peugeot’s three local SUV offerings – the 2008, 3008 and 4008 – are languishing in the sales race, with their cumulative year-to-date total accounting for just 1.5 per cent of the small SUV segment.

The 2008 has found 235 homes (a mere 20 in September) so far this year, while 119 3008s have been sold. The 4008, meanwhile, has recorded 658 registrations.

By way of contrast, Mazda has shifted 8612 CX-3s in the same period.

Peugeot Australia general manager John Startari told GoAuto that the company is working to a long-term strategy to maintain the viability of the brand in the face of the new product shortage.

“(Parent company) PSA has some exciting SUV products (coming),” he said at the launch of the facelifted 208 in New South Wales. “Obviously in this market we can't wait to get them here, because that's really where the growth is.”

The 208 range has been realigned to mirror that of the 308, and Mr Startari is looking to both ranges to produce meaningful volumes to underpin the brand locally.

“308 came out, and the positioning of that was done purposely so that 208 could slot in below it and introduce people to the 308 range as they change their vehicles,” he said. “For us, in the passenger car range, this is where the volume is going to be until the new SUVs come through.

“That's where our real volume push will come and obviously with it, an increase in marketing representation and all the things that follow with (a new) range.”

He is not concerned that the SUV sector will have lost any of its heat by the time Peugeot’s new vehicles – to be headed by an EMP2-based 3008 C-segment SUV some time in 2017 – arrive down under.

We believe that (SUVs) will remain dominant in this market,” he said. “In terms of the growth, though… that's not sustainable.

“There's going to be a point where the new entries into the market and the price-point stabilise, and then I think that will taper the growth. In terms of the segment volume, it's obviously going to be the major segment in this market for years to come.”

He also added that a zero per cent finance offer had been put in place for the 2008. “With limited marketing budgets, we can't be all things to all people.”

The Mitsubishi ASX-based 4008 has been the most successful SUV in the local range, but Peugeot Group CEO Maxime Picat told GoAuto at the Frankfurt motor show in September that the relationship between the two companies was not certain to be renewed, throwing plans for a replacement into doubt.

Mr Startari said that the 4008 will receive a refresh in 2016, and that the car has been a “saviour” for the brand locally. “We’re happy with its performance,” he said.

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