Class-leading figures for efficiency and operating costs are paving the way for Peugeot to mount a fresh bid for success in British premium sector motoring.
Backed by better styling and extra refinement, the benchmark performance credentials should allow the latest 508 range to loosen the grip on business travel shared by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, believes Peugeot UK fleet director Martin Gurney.
“Our fleet market is dominated by the German brands but I passionately believe in our product. I'm also passionate about the fact that the more people I can persuade to drive it, the better our chances will be of stealing some sales back from the established premium brands.
“Of course, we have to be realistic and accept that this is not going to happen overnight. However, my plan is not to distress the car by pushing sales – I want us to make the most of what I regard as a new opportunity for us to grow in the segment,” he told Fleet News.
Speaking at the launch of the revitalised range in Spain, he acknowledged that initial sales targets for the car had been set too high when it was introduced three years ago. “Annual volumes of up to 6,000 were too ambitious and had a negative effect on residuals. Our aim of 2,000 for this year is more in line with our ambitions and I expect a 20 per cent increase in 2015 as more customers grasp the benefits of our new offer,” he said.
Costly Euro6-compliant BlueHDi technology is key to Peugeot's upmarket ambitions and the two-litre 150 is set for a key role. But despite its £1,100 premium over the current lesser-powered 140, reduced emissions, benefit tax liability, NI contributions and VED add up to significant operating savings.
Revised front and rear styling gives the SW a stronger, more dynamic stance and a cleaner, less cluttered dash panel and upgraded trim promotes a new air of quality in spacious bodywork standing on 18-inch wheels.
On-road performance matches the car's graceful lines, with power flowing smoothly from 1,500 revs for a smart start from rest and a lively demeanour through intermediate ratios. Geared to produce 38mph per 1,000 revs in an optimum sixth, this is a relaxed motorway cruiser that's well equipped for comfortable long distance travel with powered and heated front seats, a multi-function steering wheel and touchscreen, air conditioning, navigation, cruise control, a rear parking camera, blind spot monitoring, DAB radio, Bluetooth, LED headlamps,auto lights and wipers chrome roof rails and a panoramic glass roof.