Frankfurt auto show: French forecast moderate recovery for car market next year
“Worst is behind us” says PSA Peugeot Citroen CEO as firm launches new 308
Marcel de Rycker, CEO of Peugeot Germany, presents new Peugeot 308 R, the performance version of the family hatchback, at the Frankfurt Motor Show
“The worst is behind us,” Chief Executive Officer Philippe Varin said at a press conference at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. “We’re expecting a slightly positive growth in Europe” in 2014.
Varin, who reiterated the Paris-based company’s forecast for a 5 per cent decline in Europe this year, said Peugeot’s market share in the region should improve in the last quarter from a year earlier.
Peugeot brand chief Maxime Picat said sales of the new 308 family car and 2008 crossover may help the company beat a target of reducing its cash consumption by 50 per cent in 2013.
The 308 feels more solid, better engineered and more thought out than comparable cars over the year. It is certainly a major step up from the older 308.
The platform for the car is new but has already been used for the Citroen C4 Picasso and there are a number of styling cues from the latest Citroen line-up. There are also styling cues from the Golf that are particularly noticeable from the side. But imitation involves more than flattery - it is also a smart move to remind people that they are getting something they associate with established familiarity. And it all adds up to making the 308 seem a different and stronger presence on the road.
But while the exterior styling is hardly radical, the interior make-over is. For Peugeot, at least. Those waves of dull plastic and fiddly instruments and buttons have finally been ditched and radically so. A binnacle over the steering wheel now houses the dials but functions such as telephone connectivity; the heating and air conditioning controls and audio system have been combined in a touch-screen.
Peugeot, which reported a €510 million first-half operating loss at its automotive division, plans to cut 11,200 jobs in France by 2015 and close a car plant in Aulnay, on the outskirts of Paris. It is curbing costs as the European market is set to decline for a sixth consecutive year.
Read a first drive report on the new 308 in next Wednesday’s Irish Times