Peugeot is aiming to reclaim its former status as the leading French brand in Australia.
It has been overtaken by a resurgent Renault in 2013 after being the dominant brand from France locally in recent history.
In 2010 Peugeot sold 5649 vehicles compared with just 1907 from Renault, but in 2013 to September Renault leads its compatriot by 4665 to 3693 units.
Peugeot Australia sales have slipped from a peak of 8807 in 2007, though the company’s boss believes a return to those sales heights is possible – but over time.
“There’s basics in business and providing you stick with the basics you can achieve anything,” said John Startari, speaking at this week’s launch of the new Peugeot 2008 baby SUV. “I still think 8000 is achievable, but not in the short term.
“There is a lot more intense competition in that European prestige market, so we have to be mindful of that. It’s not going to be as easy as it was in 2007 or 2008.
“Renault … has been very aggressive in SUV market. We believe we can take back that title [of top French brand] with the launch of new models and renewed focus on marketing.”
Key to those new models is the 2008 (above), which enters the burgeoning sub-compact SUV segment and is priced from an aggressive $21,990, and the next-generation 308 hatchback (main image) not due till the second half of 2014.
The 2008 is based on the 208 city car (below, in GTi form) that also launched in 2013 and just trails the 4008 SUV as the brand's best-seller in Australia.
Startari, who was recently announced as the general manager for the French sister brands Peugeot and Citroen in Australia, says it will continue to offer strong deals with five-year warranty and roadside assistance on the outgoing 308 before it capitalises on the new model next year.
“We will have the ability to reassess where the starting points, the price points, are [with the new 308],” said Startari. “We think we can pull back some of the lost ground with 308 with the current campaign, and then the new 308 will bring us back up [to where we used to be with the model].”
A facelift for the 3008 crossover is next on the Peugeot Australia agenda, which forms one of a trio of SUVs that include the Mitsubishi ASX-based 4008 and new 2008.
The Outlander-based 4007 is being discontinued.