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French manufacturer Peugeot has taken the wraps of its anticipated 408 model in Beijing. Why Beijing and not Paris? Peugeot has done considerably well in China despite being there for only five years.

Last year was huge for Peugeot in China, selling over 410,000 vehicles – a massive 44% increase compared with its 2008 performance.

The company believes the new Peugeot DF 408 will give it the right kind of ammunition to increase its sales volumes in China by over 30% in 2010.

The 408 will be manufactured at the Wuhan plant in Hubei province in China with the first units expected to go on sale in the People’s Republic later this year. Peugeot Australia general manager / director Ken Thomas says although the 408 has not been officially confirmed for right-hand drive at this stage, he is confident that it will be in Australia in the not-too-distant future.

Earlier reports indicate the Peugeot 408 will be powered by two engines available across the range. a 1.6-liter 16V with 110 bhp and147 Nm as well as a 2.0-litre putting out 147 bhp and 200 Nm of torque.

As for the look and design, the 408 came to life as a collaboration between PSA Peugeot and the Chinese group DFM.

Some interesting features in the car include a fold-away 7-inch screen, Bluetooth support, USB connectivity, dashboard-mounted CD player with MP3 and WMA compatibility. It can also be optioned out with cruise control and bi-xenon headlights. Safety is also high on the agenda with the 408 available with 2 adaptive front airbags, 2 side airbags and 2 curtain airbags.




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