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Future models - Peugeot - 408

First look: Peugeot stretches out with new 408

French brand reveals new 408 as Peugeot broadens its range with a stretched 308

9 Feb 2010

PEUGEOT has staged the world debut of a surprise new model, dubbed the 408, in Beijing.

Rather than being a successor, as the new nameplate suggests, for the French brand’s mid-size 407 range, which dates back to 2004, the 408 is based on the long-wheelbase platform of the small 308 Touring wagon.

While the more upmarket replacement for both Peugeot’s 407 model range and its discontinued 607 sedan flagship will be known as the 508, the 408 is at this stage destined for China and, possibly, other left-hand drive markets.

Right-hand production of Peugeot’s new medium sedan has yet to be confirmed and is contingent on demand from markets including the UK, Japan and Australia.

23 center imageAlthough Peugeot says it is too early to say where models potentially destined for Australia would be built, Peugeot Automobiles Australia director Ken Thomas says he is “quietly confident” the 408 will be sold here soon.

“Whilst the car has not been officially confirmed for right-hand drive production at this stage, we are quietly confident that it will be in Australia in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

“The car has an extended wheelbase, allowing for more interior space and the sedan shape obviously allows for more boot space.”

Peugeot took the unusual step of debuting the 408 in front of around 300 journalists and more than 700 Peugeot representatives in Beijing, marking “a further step in the marque's offensive on the world's foremost automobile market”.

Created by a joint-venture between PSA Peugeot and Chinese group DFM, the ‘Peugeot DF 408’ is now being produced at the Wuhan plant in Hubei province.

Peugeot says it expects the DF 408, which is “positioned to become one of the market’s benchmark vehicles”, to expand its Chinese market share by more than 30 per cent in 2010, allowing it to grow at double the pace of what is now the world’s largest car-buying nation.

France’s lion brand says the “half-height architecture sedan” was designed and developed jointly by Peugeot styling teams in Europe and China to meet three objectives: “to embody the marque's modernity, guarantee maximum safety and offer unrivalled interior space”.

The DF 408 has a full-year sales target of 100,000 units and follows the release in China of the 307 sedan and hatchback, some 3,522,800 examples of which were produced globally.

Peugeot says that despite having a presence in China for only five years, it sold more than 410,000 vehicles there in 2009 – a 44 per cent increase on 2008 figures.

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