AVOID AN OWN-GOAL
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.