“We’ve been asked if we would consider the 408 for the Australian market,” told Peugeot Automobiles Australia general manager Bill Gillespie, who responded to our enquiry after a CarAdvice reader spotted a 408 near the Sime Darby headquarters at Homebush, in Sydney's west.
“We have a car here and we have complied the car [for Australian Design Rules]," he added.
“We’re conducting customer clinics and dealer clinics as well which the results are due in September. Then we’ll make a decision which will also have to factor in pricing negotiations.
“We expect to have made a final decision a few weeks after that.”
The Peugeot 408, which is a stretched-sedan version of the outgoing 308 hatchback, is designed primarily for emerging markets such as China.
For Oz, however, it would be imported from Malaysia, making the car Peugeot’s first non-Mitsubishi-based Asian-built model on sale in this country.
It is available out of the Malaysian factory with either a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 122kW and 240Nm, allied to a six-speed manual transmission; or a 2.0-litre four-cylinder making 108kW and 200Nm mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
It is understood that Sime Darby has agreed to take a share of around 1500 Peugeot 408 models ear-marked for export from Malaysia to the Asian region.
In the burgeoning small car segment the 408 could give Peugeot a potential $19,990 contender.
With development of the 408 focused on price-sensitive emerging markets, production costs are likely to be lower than the French-built 308 hatchback that currently retails for $22,990 plus on-road costs, while Sime Darby could also benefit from the Australia-Malaysia free-trade agreement than began on January 1, 2013.
The Peugeot 308 will also be replaced by a potentially more expensive new generation model from mid-next year.