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Ryton plant gets a shift on

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Peugeot's 206 plant at Ryton, Coventry, is adding a further shift in December to handle the new GTi 180 model due to be unveiled at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, along with the 307CC. The new shift will push capacity at the factory to 230,000 - up from the planned 200,000 this year.

“The only way we could squeeze more out of Ryton now would be to reduce the shutdown time and keep it operating for 50 weeks,” says a Peugeot spokesman.

The new 206 GTi 180 will have a 180bhp engine capable of 143mph. It is expected to be launched in the UK in January. PSA partner Citroen will unveil a radical new C3 Pluriel at Paris, which can be changed from a four-seat saloon into several other configurations.

Its full-length sunroof can be opened to six set positions, while the absence of a central pillar means the windows can be lowered to create an open-sided vehicle - the Pluriel Panoramic. Once the sunroof and rear window are retracted under the boot floor, it becomes a cabriolet. The side pillars can then be removed, transforming the car into the Pluriel Spider.

In its final guise, the boot lid can be opened downwards and the rear seats folded flat to create a Spider Pick-up. The car will have a single trim level and a choice of two petrol engines - a 75bhp 1.4i and a 110bhp 16-valve version.

Peugeot will also show the 3-heart-7 CC, continuing the coupe cabriolet idea first seen on the 206CC. Although billed as a concept this is likely to go into production next year according to PSA insiders.

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