Peugeot targets number one spot with 208
In the UK, the ambition is that it should knock the Ford Fiesta from the no 1 slot in the segment that the 206 once led.
The 206 is still sold in France and central Europe and has been the best selling of the 2 series with 7.7m sales since its launch in 1998.
The 205, launched in 1983 and the car that is credited with turning around the fortunes of Peugeot, sold 5.2m units during its lifetime.
But the 207 with total sales of 2.3m “didn’t really meet the objectives we wanted,” according to 208 product manager Christophe Chateau.
He describes the 207 as being “too big, too expensive” adding that it came under attack from the Ford Fiesta “and didn’t appeal to women.”
Currently, the two models have a B segment share of just under 10 per cent.
The 208 marks a “change of era” according to Chateau. Its technical specification, set out in 2007, was the most ambitious ever set by Peugeot.
The car is smaller and lighter than its two predecessors and the hope is that it will recapture the spirit of the 205.
About 50 per cent of parts are carried over from the 207; new components are designed to make the car lighter (it weighs around 114kg less than the 207 on average) and roomier, so for example the seats are slimmer.
UK prices for the full 208 range will be announced on 18th April when order books open, deliveries beginning in June. Prices will start at £9,995 for the entry-level Access.
New 1.2 and 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines arrive in June, giving Peugeot a sub-1.4-litre engine in this segment for the first time, a factor that UK product manager Mark Blundell believes will be key to winning customers from the Fiesta and VW Polo.
Peugeot expects 208 sales to be around 265,000 this year rising to 550,000 worldwide in 2013 by which time production will have started in Brazil.
Production began in France at the start of the year and was extended to Slovakia last month; additional production at Mulhouse in eastern France will be added at the end of this year.
UK sales are forecast to be 22,000 this year, rising to 45,000 next year.
Story: Headline Auto
Words by: DrivenData Reporter