Peugeot in drive to boost sales
Hopes are high that Personal Contract Purchase schemes will lift the motor trade next year, writes Martin Brennan
As new car sales scale down after the welcome July bump motor importers are planning for 2014 to grow market share. Hopes are high that the slide in new car registrations – 89,900 in '11, 79,496 in '12 and an expected dismal 72,000 by year end, will pick up to 78,000 next year as low initial payment Personal Contract Purchase schemes grow apace.
Peugeot is one company that is well positioned to take advantage of any lift in the market. Already this year the new 2008 compact Crossover has been well received and an all new 308 hatchback has just been launched. Hot on the heels of these arrivals will come restyled and refreshed 3008 and 5008 models. The sports RCZ is also getting a nose job, by the way snub noses are the order of the day for Peugeot just now. The 508 also gets some light touches to keep it young looking.
"More style, more economy and more technology," says Emma Toner, marketing manager of the Peugeot importers. She boasts that with improvements throughout the range Peugeot will have youngest line-up of models. The 208 was launched just 18 months ago. She is less forthcoming about a totally new small car which will be launched in the summer.
But some of the most stunning developments at the French auto maker are more than skin deep. Under the bonnet developments are moving at a fast pace and at the launch of the 308 this week news was released of a new 1.6 litre 120bhp diesel BlueHDi engine with a claimed fuel consumption of 3.1L/100km (91mpg) which is at the lowest tax bracket as it puts out a mere 82g/km of CO2. This Euro 6 compliant engine will be a leader its its segment for economy when it arrives here in the spring.
When the 308 arrives here in December it will initially be powered by high economy petrol and diesel engines with diesel accounting for 85 per cent of sales. Prices will be announced at launch but expect petrol units to start at about €19,000 for entry level models with a €2,000 price jump to diesel power. Sales of 1,000 are the target for a full year – the outgoing model sold 500 this year and totted up 4,000 sales since launch in late 2006.
The new arrivals are expected to grow Peugeot market share from a current 3.4 per cent to 4 per cent next year. This year the marque did relatively well dropping 1.5 per cent at a time when the new car market is expected to drop by 8 per cent at the year end.
The new model comes to market with significant improvements in terms of weight loss, down a hefty 140 kg, it now has the biggest boot in the segment with 470 litres of space, the exterior design is compact with short overhangs, the interior is spacious and includes a 12 litre cooled glove box.
Behind the low mounted small steering wheel the driver gets a large 9.7" touch screen which controls air conditioning, driving aids, multimedia , navigation, phone and Peugeot Connect Apps and vehicle settings leaving the dash area uncluttered. There is the option of further Apps and a wi-fi on board can share wireless internet connection for up to four people.
The model tested had a reversing camera and park assist system – great for congested city parking. There was also a noticeable improvements in cabin noise level reduction which made driving and conversation much more relaxed when combined with the mix of initially confusing, but with practice, easy to use driving aids.