Friday, February 29, 2008

New Zealand Kiwis embrace Peugeot

Call it French evolution. Last year 1078 new Peugeots were registered in New Zealand, with the 307 the top pick.

In 2008 the intent is for sales to hit 1250, with the 307's aesthetically similar successor - the 308 - leading the charge.

Indeed, importer Sime Darby Automobiles NZ expects to sell 650 examples of the 308 this year, comparable with its best annual 307 count. It is a keen call, not least because the car has not been easy for the distributor to even lay hands on. Strong demand in Europe delayed launch
here by six months, and will restrict supply for another two.

One reason for confidence is that the starter model is a rarity - a medium-sized quality Euro hatch that sells for under $30,000.

Admittedly, this modest-performing XS 1.6-litre manual petrol version of the 308 undercuts the $30K mark by just $10, but this still provides a Corolla-challenging strategy other Euros cannot match without losing the full electrics, cruise control and climate air that are standard
308 fare.

Sime Darby marketing manager Rod Cunningham reckons on a $7000 advantage over a similarly-specified VW Golf. Peugeot is also offering an extra sweetener for at least six months - a three-year 60,000km service plan.



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