The French brand’s 2008 is one of a raft of new SUVS emerging that are based on city cars. The 2008 is based heavily on the Peugeot 208 released earlier this year, and measures just 4.1 metres long.
The Peugeot 2008 is priced from just $21,990 to make it the most affordable SUV in Australia after the $17,990 driveway Chinese Chery J11.
It joins the Barina-based Holden Trax (from $23,490), and arrives ahead of the upcoming Nissan Juke (mid October), Fiesta-based Ford EcoSport (December), and Clio-based Renault Captur (1st quarter 2014).
“There’s no no doubt more investment will be made in those types of [compact SUV] segments,” said Peugeot Australia boss John Startari at this week’s launch of the 2008. “It’s important to find the next big thing [in automotive vehicles] and the sub compact SUV market seems to be the next emerging segment.
“Success in Europe is a demonstration of what that  can do.”
Startari played down the seemingly aggressive pricing of the 2008, saying the brand was merely positioning the vehicle where it believed it needed to be.
“If you look at our competitors, we decided to meet the market requirements in terms of pricing and specifications.
“Traditionally some models like the 308 [hatchback] have started just in higher specification, but the way the market is moving I don’t think we have a choice but to offer a wide range of vehicles from price leaders right up to premium product.”
Nissan’s Juke will also start from $21,990 when it goes on sale, and starting prices in the low $20,000 area are also expected for the EcoSport and Captur.
As revealed by CarAdvice, Mazda will also enter the fray with a CX-3 model expected to be based on its Mazda 2 city car.
Peugeot Australia is hoping the 2008 will be one of the new models that can help turn around sales that have dipped in recent years.
It expects the 2008 to account for about 10 per cent of a segment it believes will be in the region of 500 units every month.