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PSA Group and ChangAn to develop ute

Pick me up: Although not yet confirmed for the Australian market, PSA Group and ChangAn Automobile’s jointly-developed ute could offer Aussies more choice in the burgeoning pick-up segment.

Chinese and global markets targeted for new pick-up from PSA Group and ChangAn

28 Sep 2017

PEUGEOT and Citroen parent company PSA Group is developing its own one-tonne ute in conjunction with Chinese car-maker ChangAn Automobile to be launched globally by 2020, but an Australian debut remains uncertain.

Peugeot Citroen Australia has confirmed it is interested in bringing its own one-tonne ute to the local market but stopped short of an official confirmation.

With the light-commercial vehicle (LCV) market identified by PSA Group as a white space segment where it can grow sales, the new platform will be developed for the Chinese and international markets at ChangAn’s Ding Zhou plant, according to the French company.

“This new vehicle should meet the most stringent worldwide regulations and customer’s expectations with a very strong design and uncompromised quality and durability”, PSA Group said.

It is unclear if the pick-up will be badged as a Peugeot or a Citroen.

Last year, 14 million vehicles were sold in the LCV segment worldwide, 18 per cent of which were in the one-tonne pick-up market.

In Australia, 217,750 LCVs were sold in 2016 (18.5 per cent of all new vehicles sold) with 190,768 tallied in the one-tonne pick-up segment representing 87.6 per cent of total LCV sales.

For the first eight months of 2017, the local LCV market has grown another 6.1 per cent year-on-year to 155,553 with the one-tonne pick-up market accounting for 87.7 per cent of sales.

The Toyota HiLux workhorse finished last year as the best-selling vehicle on the Australian market, and is expected to retain the throne in 2017.

At this stage though, it remains unclear if PSA’s new LCV will be pitched against high-end European offerings including the Volkswagen Amarok and incoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class, or price-leading models such as the LDV T60 and Foton Tunland, or somewhere in-between.

ChangAn Automobile also has joint-venture agreements with Ford and Mazda to produce passenger vehicles in its home market, while its deal with PSA Group and Suzuki extend to LCVs.

However, with Ford’s plans to bring its Ranger pick-up to the Chinese market next year, PSA Group and ChangAn Automobile’s ute project could compete directly against the Blue Oval-badged workhorse.

PSA Group executive vice-president of programs and strategy Patrice Lucas said the new ute will sit alongside its African market Pick Up – a rebadged Dongfeng Rich workhorse.

“This new product, which is complementary to the Peugeot pick-up recently launched in Africa, is in line with the core model strategy of Groupe PSA and will support our come back on this growing market segment,” he said.

“It will contribute to achieve the objectives set for the Push to Pass plan regarding LCVs with a target to increase volumes by 30 per cent by 2018 and triple overseas volumes by 2021.”

Part of PSA Group’s Push to Pass profitable growth strategy involved an agreement in June with ChangAn Automobile to strengthen ties and launch a new DS product in China every year from 2018.

In return, the French company would gain access to electric vehicle (EV) technologies developed by ChangAn and would move its Asia Pacific headquarters to Shenzhen, where it will build its SUV and passenger vehicles.

In addition to the new jointly-developed LCV platform, both brands will also share internal combustion powertrain technologies and connected vehicle systems.

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