But what about the third product? And what happens if it is identical to the first two – how do you ensure it generates media interest that converts into sales?
That was the challenge facing Peugeot with the 4007 SUV, on the heels of the Mitsubishi Outlander in March and stablemate Citroën’s C-Crosser: three identical products in all but badge and face.
Peugeot put its emphasis on the press launch with ‘posh’ camping at Longleat safari park and a series of ‘bush tucker’ trials, copying ITV show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. It hopes that by making an impression on the launch, it will make an impression with a media struggling to find new things to say after reviewing Outlander and C-Crosser.
It worked – although the biggest surprise of the event was the claim by Peugeot that, actually, the three cars are not identical.
In contrast to statements made by Mitsubishi and Citroën, Peugeot says the 4007 has a different damper setting, one that gives priority to road driving. “Our car is uniquely damped,” confirms a spokesman.
He also points out that while pricing is the same, Peugeot and Citroën have selected different items to have as standard equipment, tailored to their customers’ needs. For example, the 4007 has xenon lights as standard. Tasteful additions include the chrome finish to window frames and sill mouldings, and the brushed aluminium finisher under the tailgate window.
Citroën was at pains to point out that its C-Crosser is primarily an on-road car – so much so that it didn’t allow for any off-road driving during its media test. Peugeot, to its credit, took a braver stance – after all, the car does have three settings: two-wheel drive, four-wheel and full lock up for low grip conditions.
It doesn’t have Land Rover ability – no-one claims it does – but the 4007 can tackle rutted tracks, muddy hills and knee-deep water with relative ease. It has more off-road ability than expected.
Peugeot expects to sell 2,000 units next year, limited by production. Buyer preference will come down to brand choice, the salesman and the look of the car. USPs over some rivals include the 5+2 seating layout – the ‘plus twos’ for children only.
The 4007 goes on sale in September, but dealers already have display models. So keen was Peugeot to get these out into showrooms and shopping centres that it allowed dealers to have some cars not fully kitted for the UK.
Dealers signed indemnity forms so that they wouldn’t allow these 4007’s, missing locking wheel nuts and alarms, on test drives.
They will be refitted by Peugeot at a later date.
Behind the wheel
Like its Outlander and C-Crosser siblings, the 4007 is composed on the road, benefiting from a lower ground clearance and, therefore, centre of gravity, than some rivals.
The ride seems a little firmer than the C-Crosser’s typically Citroën-esque cushioned ride, which fits in with Peugeot’s claim that its dampers have a unique set-up. It results in the SUV reacting slightly faster when turning into bends and allows the driver to push it a little harder – should they wish to.
The 2.2HDi diesel engine is perfectly suited to a car of this weight, pulling cleanly through the gears and reaching cruising speeds with little fuss. Good sound-proofing means the cabin is a quiet place.
Price: £22,790 SE, £25,490 GT
Engine: 2.2HDi 156bhp diesel
Transmission: 6sp manual
Performance: 0-62mph 9.9secs; top speed 124mph
Efficiency: 39.2mpg; 191g/km CO2
CAP RV: 44%, £9,900
Rivals: Mitsubishi Outlander, Citroen C-Crosser, Honda CR-V, Vauxhall Antara
Strengths: Drives well, 5+2 seats
Weaknesses: Cramped third row
Opportunities: Sales in a new sector
Threats: Flood of rivals into the sector