The Peugeot 301 is a stretched 308 with a bespoke silhouette
Peugeot this week reveals its new 301, a car built especially for what it calls 'growth markets' in Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. Eventually it will also be sold and manufactured in China.
According to Peugeot's new 38 year-old brand CEO, Maxime Picat, who until recently was chief of PSA's Chinese operations, Peugeot wants to use this specially targeted "value" model, and others like it, to boost non-European sales proportion to 60 per cent by 2020.
The Peugeot 301 is based on a stretched PSA Platform One, and related to the latest 208. The use of Platform One, which is lighter than Platform Two, allows the 301 to weigh as little as 980kg without additional safety kit, such as ESP.
It will be built initially in Vigo, Spain. It sits on a stretched 308 wheelbase and wider tracks, is 4.4 metres long and features both the generous rear cabin and capacious separate boot that owners in these markets prefer. Its ground clearance is raised by 20mm for the additional ground clearance on the rough roads of many emerging markets.
There are three engines, a 72bhp non-turbo version of the recently launched 1.2 litre PSA triple, plus a 115bhp 1.6 petrol four and a 92bhp bhp normally aspirated version of the familiar 1.6 HDi diesel, which is, according to Peugeot the world's biggest-selling diesel engine.
PSA has been criticised in France and elsewhere for not being sufficiently "internationalised" but spokesmen say the group is working hard to change things. Two years ago group volume outside Europe was just 30 per cent, last year it was 42 per cent and by 2015 it is tipped to reach 50 per cent, en route to the 60 per cent target by 2020.