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Volvo’s BEV boldness not for Peugeot, Citroen

Peugeot and Citroen unlikely to follow Volvo in making early BEV-only switch in Aus

15 Sep 2023

ALTHOUGH Peugeot’s electrification journey in Australia is well underway and sister brand Citroen is about to follow suit, local importer Inchcape is not tempted to follow Volvo’s example of boldly going battery electric only from 2026 here, nor do the French brands have a local roadmap to axe the internal combustion engine.


Emerging brands – largely originating from China – are quickly becoming mainstream players as Australians go out on a limb to drive an electric car, which Volvo Cars Australia last year seized upon by negotiating an annual supply of 20,000 all-electric models from 2026, sufficient to almost double sales volume compared with its record 2022 result.


Peugeot and Citroen sales in Australia have slumped during the past decade and brand recognition for both remains low despite both having a long history in this market, but neither will attempt to replicate Volvo’s ambitious electric-only switch.


Globally, Volvo will become an electric-only brand by 2030 while Peugeot and Citroen will do the same in Europe under the policy of parent company Stellantis to sell only battery electric vehicles on the continent from next decade (at which point the group is also targeting 50 per cent sales in North America to be zero tailpipe emissions models).


With the recent launch of the E-2008 electric small SUV and E-Partner electric compact van joining plug-in hybrid versions of the 508 mid-size and 308 small passenger cars, Peugeot has established a strong electrified line-up, which will expand next year with the E-208 light hatch, E-Expert mid-size van, new-generation E-3008 medium SUV, and 408 plug-in hybrid crossover, while Citroen is confirmed to add a plug-in hybrid version of the C5 X in 2024.


Speaking with GoAuto at the recent E-2008 launch in Sydney, Peugeot Citroen Australia managing director Kate Gillis implied that more electric models are in development for this market based on her visit to Citroen facilities in France earlier this year.


However, she denied the existence of any cut-off date for the sale of internal combustion engine models in Australia from either brand.


“The only roadmap we have is really dictated by customer demand. So if there is a demand for choice then we will do what we can to provide that choice,” said Ms Gillis.


“Whilst there's customer demand, we'll do what we can to meet that demand for choice of powertrains.”


Meanwhile, Volvo’s electrification bet appears to be paying off. Australian sales year-to-date are up 12.3 per cent and have averaged more than 1000 a month, putting it on track for another record year with 12,000 deliveries.


Of the 8005 Volvos sold so far in 2023, almost 3000 were battery-electric models. For context, Peugeot sold 1649 units in the same timeframe and Citroen 164.


A decade ago, combined Peugeot and Citroen sales outstripped Volvo by a significant margin, with 5071 Peugeots and 1702 Citroens finding Australian homes in 2012 compared with 5375 Volvos.


When Volvo launched the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric in February 2022, 46 were sold. In August of this year, that had risen to 382.


In percentage terms, the battery electric option represented five per cent of XC40 sales in February 2022 – and 37 per cent last month.


When adding C40 Recharge Pure Electric volume to the mix, 49 per cent of Volvo’s 40-series models sold in Australia were electric last month, contributing to 37 per cent of the brand’s overall year-to-date sales being electric models.

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