Peugeot rationalises with new 208

Peugeot rationalises with new 208

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When the number of models you have is not far behind the number of units you are moving, it may be time to rationalise your range.

That is what Peugeot’s New Zealand distributor Sime Darby has done with the latest update of its 208, cut from nine to just two models, a simpler range made possible by the arrival of what Kiwi buyers really want in a car – a good automatic transmission.

Divisional manager Simon Rose says Sime Darby will be looking to do the same with other models in their range, and leveraging off their Australian distributorship to allow indent on less popular models.

What he couldn’t tell AutoTalk yet at Friday’s launch was how the brand would be represented in central Auckland on an ongoing basis, with the current Greenlane Peugeot and Citroen operations being forced out to make way for the new Auckland City Toyota dealership.

Rose says the updated 208 is very important to the brand, with expectations that sales will go from 13 units a month to 15-20.

“It is obviously such an important car for us as we have such a loyal base of 205, 206, 207 and 208 buyers,” he explains. “But we think we have a great opportunity not just with existing customers, but also conquest sales.”

“It is currently 20% of our volume; it should be a more volume orientated model than that.”

Who does he pick to conquest from? His first answer is Mazda 2.

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While there have been tweaks to the styling of the 208 – a new front grille and lights, and new LED rear lights, with the Peugeot ‘Claw’ already seen on the 308, the big news is the drivetrain.

Gone are manual, automatically-shifted manual and four-speed automatic transmission, tied to the well-regarded Aisin 6-speed automatic, tied to the ‘International Engine of the Year’, the PureTech, 1.2 litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol.

Producing 81kW@5500rpm and 205Nm@1500rpm, the engine produces slightly less power but much more torque than the outgoing 1.6-litre petrol, and is significantly more efficient, getting to 100km/h a second quicker, with fuel use on a combined cycle dropping to 4.8l/100km from 6.7l/100km.

The two rationalised models, the Active and Allure, are both $1000 more than the outgoing model, but offer more specification. Rose, however, indicated with the current state of the NZ dollar it may not be possible to hold pricing at this level for long.

The Active at $26,990 is well specified. Both cars get Peugeots interior concept of a low set small steering wheel and a seven-inch touch screen. It gets 15-1inch allow wheels, halogen headlights, LED running lights, front side and curtain airbags, ABS, ESC, an Akamys 6-speaker audio system with USB and Bluetooth streaming, manual air-conditioning and fabric trim.

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The Allure at $29,990 adds 16-inch alloy wheels, cornering fog lights, automatic lights and wipers, electrochromic rear vision mirror, Dual-zone climate control, leather steering wheel, armrest, chrome gear shift, satellite navigation and a reversing camera.

An active city brake system is available for $1300; an alarm is $300, a glass roof $1500 and leather seating $2500. A textured paint – which the company claims is low-care, is available for $750.

Rose says they are considering a Gti model, but like other rationalised models that would likely be on indent via Australia.

AutoTalk had a chance to drive the new 208 in Allure form around Auckland, and the PureTech engine and drivetrain certainly make a big difference. Power can take a second to build, but once there is impressive. The 208 already had a strong chassis, and the pairing makes a for a surprisingly fun drive for what is not a performance model.

The new model goes on sale October 1.

308 gets performance diesel

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Meanwhile, Peugeot NZ will be introducing a performance addition to its 308 line-up, the 308 GT 180.

The diesel-power hot-hatch will arrive in November in limited numbers.

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