307 replacement marks a line in the sand for Peugeot as it develops lighter, greener cars
16 April 2007

This is Peugeot’s 307 replacement, the 308 SW, caught on test ahead of its unveiling this summer.And while we can expect this Focus rival to be sharper and better-driving than its predecessor, it won’t be as lithe as what Peugeot’s promising in the future.According to boss Frederic Saint-Geours, Peugeot is cueing up a massive model expansion, with sportier, lighter and greener cars on the way. All models following the 308 will trim the fat in a ploy to enhance dynamics and enhance fuel efficiency. “We have to develop cars with less weight than the car it replaces,” said Saint-Geours. “It’s the only way we can go.”The new PSA boss, Christian Streiff, is backing a massively accelerated model plan and is also tipped to give the green light to a low-cost model in the mould of the Renault Logan, designed for emerging markets such as India and China.A big saloon sitting above the 607 is also being considered, although it may be restricted to Asia and South America. “Customers will accept a bigger car than a 607. It’s just a strategy decision,” said Saint-Geours. The final decision on both projects will be made in September.Europe is also going to benefit from the model expansion, with new cars being replaced more quickly than the current rate.The company is also set to move further away from sister firm Citroën’s product line-up by introducing more unique and sportier models, and venturing into new territories.While a bespoke sports car is not on the agenda, hardcore versions of the newly launched 207 GTi are thought to be in the pipeline. Such a model could be lighter, look more aggressive and more focused on the road, providing a greater challenge to the Renault Clio 197. However, Peugeot’s boss has ruled out a return of the traditional Rallye badge that used to feature on such models.Peugeot will not be launching petrol hybrid versions of its European models, either, although Saint-Geours has firmed up plans to put a diesel hybrid on the market by 2010. “Petrol hybrids are nonsense in Europe, but a diesel hybrid has a big advantage and that is what we’ll be doing,” he said.

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