Extracts from Peugeot Torque

IN  THE  PEUGEOT  WORLD

2016 production:  The day after we went to print with the last magazine, Groupe-PSA announced the results of its 2016 year.  As part of that release, came stats on the individual model production volumes.  We have put together the following table to illustrate the progress made in the recovery of the company since the injection of Chinese and French state money several years back.  Top model in 2016 was the 208.

Money wise, the company showed an increased profit, exceeding forecasts in the first year of its current 5-year strategic plan “Push to Pass’.  A 6% margin was achieved on group revenue of €50,030 Million, up 18% on 2015, allowing the company to propose payment of a dividend, the first since 2011.

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Hayes Publishing who produce automotive workshop manuals has a new volume in print for the Peugeot Partner, diesel engine (08-16) at £22.99.  This small van has been available in NZ for a few years now, with 100+ sold, and has proven extremely popular in Europe with over 600,000 built.  Haynes now offers a web service, with access available on-line for this manual at £16.99 per year from www.haynes.com

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pic by peugeot

The Peugeot Instinct is a shooting break styled concept car shown for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show last March.  It is pictured in colour on the cover.  The Instinct is a plug-in hybrid autonomous vehicle, a PHEV, with 300hp on tap and a powerful suit of sophisticated IT abilities built up around Samsung’s Artik Cloud so it can communicate with a users various electronic devices.  In self drive mode it can be directed to perform in different ways, Soft if you want to read in comfort, or Sharp for a more dynamic journey.  Peugeot is expecting to see this technology in production by 2025.

Peugeot-Citroen has recently received approval to commence test driving of autonomous vehicles using non-professional drivers over some 2000 km of French public highway.  This testing programme for self-driving vehicles has been running since July 2105, but to date has always had a professional driver behind the wheel, ready to take over if required.

The boss is back behind the wheel in a rally car.  In the last issue of Peugeot Torque we reported that the CEO of the Peugeot Group, Carlos Tavares had been behind the wheel of a 504TI in last year’s Monte-Carlo Historique Rally.  For 2017, he left the 504 at home, and instead entered the event in a 1979 Peugeot 104ZS2 which he and friends had prepared.  In its day, it was a hot little hatch!  Some 330 crews set off from difference points, all heading for the principality.  After four days of driving, at times in snow or slush, Tavares finished in 107th place.

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Judy Murray, mother of tennis ace and World No 1, Sir Andy Murray, has her own tennis project, with a ‘Tennis On the Road’ initiative, bringing the sport to parts of Scotland that otherwise would have no exposure to it, and thereby increasing participation at a grass roots level.  She recently became a Peugeot Ambassador, taking delivery of a new 3008 GT.  Peugeot has strong links to tennis, being a major sponsor of the French Open, and at other world-wide events the Peugeot lion motif is regularly seen court side.  Until recently Novak Djokovic was also a Peugeot Ambassador with the lion motif

on his playing strip.

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Peugeot returns to USA: Well not quite! It has invested in a carshare scheme called TravelCar, in conjunction with French based insurance company MAIF.  The plan is to offer travellers access to privately owned cars at Los Angeles and San Francisco airports.  In exchange, the owners who offer their vehicles for rent receive free car parking and a rental fee, while customers have access to a car at a reduced price, about 50% less than a traditional rental.  It is expected that owners themselves will be travelling, and while away their car will be earning, rather than costing.  Comprehensive insurance is provided via MAIF.  Similar schemes are already afoot in Europe.

Biggest story of the year:  On 6 March, Group PSA confirmed is was to acquire the European Opel and Vauxhaul brands from General Motors, along with GM Finance’s European operations in a transaction valuing these at €1.03 Billion and €0.9Billion respectively (that is NZ$3.3 Billion, a big number in any currency).  This will make the merged operation the second largest automotive company in Europe with 17% market share.  As well as the brands, comes six assembly and five component manufacturing plants, one engineering centre and some 40,000 employees.  PSA will not be accepting liability for existing pension schemes, a significant sticking point in negotiations which went as far as the UK Prime Minister, concerned about UK jobs.  Substantial economies of scale in purchasing, manufacture and R&D are expected to flow, building on existing links between the two companies.

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“We are proud to join forces with Opel/Vauxhaul and are deeply committed to continuing to develop this great company and accelerating its turnaround” said Carlos Tavares, chairman of Group PSA, referring to the financial difficulties GM has failed to overcome in recent years.  Now in Australasia we have another problem – those died in the wool Holden fans are shortly to receive a rebadged Vauxhaul in place of their home grown Commodore, and the Holden bonnet badge is another lion.  We do know which one will prevail!!!!!

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3008 is COTY for 2017!:  This first week of March has been one of good news for Peugeot, first with the announcement of the GM acquisition, and then the following day at the opening of the Geneva Motor Show came news of the award of the 2017 European car of the Year to the Peugeot 3008.  It was the first SUV to win since the award was introduced in 1964, and followed COTY success for the 308 in 2014.  Some 30 cars were listed for the first round of judging.  To be eligible, a car had to launched in the 12 months prior to the announcement, and sell in excess of 5000 a year.  The list was whittled down to 7 finalists for the final round of judging before a panel of 58 motoring journalists from 22 countries, assembled for 2 days of driver testing and discussion.  Each judge had 25 points available to spread across these 7, with a maximum of 10points given to one car.  The 3008 received 319 points ahead of the Alfa Romeo Giulia on 296 and the Mercedes Benz E-class on 197.  Receiving the award was Jean-Philippe Imparato, brand chief for Peugeot.

Using the Geneva Show as a stage for the presentation saw it made in front of many motor industry leaders.  However, the news item was subsequently swamped by an avalanche of motoring news items relating to new model launches and displays at the show, so lost some of the immediate media publicity.

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Next 208?:  Photos have emerged on the web of what is suggested to be a mule (a disguised test car) for the next generation 208, seen and snapped in Sweden.  The car which was on French plates appears on the surface to be a regular 208, but has wheel arch extenders hiding a wider track for potentially a larger interior.  These same car-scoop pundits are predicting a 2018 launch, but that seems unlikely as some people are predicting a new generation 508 is due out next.