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Peugeot pulls out the stops for 207

Peugeot’s UK retailers will be flown to Seville in Spain at the end of February for the European dealer launch of the carmaker’s most important new model of the year – the 207.

Right-hand drive versions will arrive in UK showrooms in June, two months after left-hand drive models go on sale on the European mainland.

The car is being described by Peugeot as a successor to the 206, not a replacement. A reduced range of 206 with 1.4-litre petrol or turbodiesel engines, including SW and CC variants, will continue to be on sale “for several years”.

The PSA plant at Ryton, Coventry, which assembles the 206, has been guaranteed production until 2010. Its fate after that point is still unclear, as PSA has announced no new contract.

Pierre Louis Colin, who took over as Peugeot GB managing director from Christian Geraud in December, told AM he will hear at the end of the month what volume of right-hand drive 207s will be available. He hopes to get at least 30,000 units for the rest of 2006.

“We’ve strong expectations for this car so we need enough volume,” adds Colin. He recently met with the dealer council, and next month will begin visiting retailers to learn more about the UK network.

The launch range will offer three- and five-door hatchbacks with a choice of three petrol and three turbodiesel engines: 1.4 75bhp; 1.4 90bhp; 1.6 100bhp; 1.4HDi 70bhp; 1.6HDi 90bhp; and 1.6HDi 110bhp. A 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 172bhp, developed by BMW for the next Mini, will be added to the range later in the year.

UK specifications are yet to be revealed, but models will follow Peugeot GB’s current model badging style, and not have the Trendy, Premium and GT names used in Europe. Two slightly different front bumpers will be offered – a smooth, classic style and a more aggressive sport style.

The decision to keep selling 206 alongside 207 is a first for Peugeot, but follows a trend set by its French neighbour, Renault. After launching the Clio in 1991, it continued selling the Renault 5 alongside as an entry model for several years.

“The 20 series has been historically our most successful series in the UK. The 205 and 206 have been responsible for half of our UK sales,” Colin adds.

“If we reposition 206 properly and work out the proposition of the car – and price it correctly – there’s still a future for it in terms of volume.

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