AVOID AN OWN-GOAL

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter: @PaulWard­Gover

THE car world is full of come­back plans and prom­ises. As Peu­geot pre­pares for its home grand fi­nal, the Paris mo­tor show, it is pump­ing up its chances of be­com­ing more than just a 0.5 per cent player in Aus­tralian show­rooms.

There is plenty of im­pres­sive his­tory to draw from, in­clud­ing suc­cess in the round-Aus­tralia tri­als in the 1950s and the su­per-fun 205 GTI of the 1980s, but that’s not nearly enough when you’re go­ing up against VW, Mazda and the Kore­ans in the im­port bat­tle.

We can also look for­ward to a line-up in which Citroen is the PSA Group’s starter brand with the C line, Peu­geot oc­cu­pies the mid­dle ground and the style-driven DS line does a Lexus-style job at the top end.

The lat­est talk is about a new 308 that proves Peu­geot can still build cars that look good and drive great (see page 12).

How­ever, the brand bosses are mak­ing some gi­ant calls and even at­tack­ing Hyundai and Kia for dump­ing — ba­si­cally sell­ing cars for less than they cost to make — in Aus­tralia.

“We have to fo­cus to grow. But not dump­ing on mar­kets, like some com­pa­nies, it must be sus­tain­able growth,” says Ocea­nia area man­ager David Descottes. “We want to be beat­ing Volk­swa­gen in 20 years. And DS should be ahead of Audi in 20 years.”

That’s an even big­ger pre­dic­tion than Holden say­ing it will be back at No.1 by the end of the decade.

Peu­geot sees it­self as a pre­mium player that can charge ex­tra for its cars. It ob­vi­ously didn’t watch how Opel im­ploded in Aus­tralia with a sim­i­lar ap­proach, although it ad­mits it can learn some lessons about the right cars for this mar­ket from the fail­ure of VW’s Up.

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