Fleet News

Peugeot 607



##peu607.jpg --Right##THE importance of the company car user-chooser has led Peugeot to market its new 607 executive challenger with only one trim level to allow buyers to customise their cars. The announcement introduces a degree of individuality into the buying process similar to that offered by BMW and Mercedes. Peugeot managing director Frederic Saint-Geours said: 'The typical 607 buyer will be a company car driver with a choice of vehicle. 'This has inspired us to offer the 607 with one equipment level because we want buyers to be able to customise their cars.'

Buyers will be able to choose from four packages - titanium, diamond, ebony and ivory. Allied to a choice of three engines, two gearboxes, 13 paint colours, several trim materials and option packs, 607 buyers can choose from 169 combinations. Titanium is aimed at more modern buyers by using carbon fibre, diamond includes wood and more luxurious seat fabrics, ebony creates a darker cabin, while ivory lightens the 607 interior with beige seats, door panels and dashboard

The choice continues with three engines, starting with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder petrol unit producing 160bhp, followed by a 210bhp 3.0-litre V6 and a 136bhp 2.2-litre common rail diesel which scores a world first by having a particulates filter to ensure it meets Euro III emission targets. All engines will be available with a five-speed manual gearbox or an optional four-speed automatic which will also offer a semi-auto gearchange similar to Porsche's Tiptronic system.

When the 607 goes on sale in France on March 1 next year, it will cost 187,500FF (£18,282) for the 2.2 petrol, 199,500FF (£19,452) for the diesel and 239,500FF (£23,335) for the V6. The automatic gearbox will be a 12,600FF (£1,228) option. The car goes on sale in the UK in June.

Technological innovation will be the key selling point of the 607, with the model featuring an array of systems aimed at making driving safer, easier and more comfortable. Features include automatic headlight activation when the car senses it is getting dark, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, time delay headlights, automatic activation of the hazard warning lights under heavy braking, tyre pressure warning indicator and a parking aid which uses sensors in the bumper to warn the driver when the car gets too near an object.

A remote assistance system is also fitted which allows Peugeot engineers to carry out diagnostics and the optional telephone has a Peugeot privilege link call button which the driver can use in case of an emergency or breakdown. Using control systems pioneered in the aviation industry, such as multiplexing to reduce four-fold the number of electric wires and connections, Peugeot claims the 607 is not only more technically advanced but is also more reliable. Service intervals will be every 30,000km (18,000 miles) for petrol engines and 20,000km (12,000 miles) for the diesel. The 607 will also come with a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and a three-year paintwork guarantee.

Despite the demise of the Rover 800 and Ford Scorpio, Peugeot maintains there is a strong market for an executive car from a mainstream manufacturer. Peugeot's head of product (large cars) and the 607's project leader, Christian Priser, said: 'The executive market in Europe is about one million cars a year - that is enough of a niche for us. He added: 'The executive market is accessible, but it has seen many different stages in business terms over the past 10 years.

'In the early 1990s there was a severe economic crisis and during that time we concentrated on developing our core business, the 206 and 406, as we needed the volume to get through the recession. Now, with Peugeot securing its own position, we are looking to expand into the executive market in the same way that Mercedes and BMW have moved into the small car market.'

Peugeot has targeted the Vauxhall Omega as its chief rival for the 607, although it is also hoping to take sales from the established German marques in the executive sector. The 607 features advanced technology which the French firm hopes will attract company car buyers wanting more equipment for their money. Saint-Geours said the 607 is 'more beautiful than the Omega, offers better value for money and is a modern car which has features that Omega could never have dreamed of'.

He added: 'We are offering a car which respects German standards but goes beyond them, as well as incorporating French flair.' He also said that 607 prices would be head-on with Omega's.

Quality problems with the 607's predecessor, the 605, had led Peugeot to rethink the way it designs its cars.

With the 607 competing against the likes of the BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-class and Audi A6, Peugeot knows that if the quality of its new car is not good, it will fall into the same trap as the 605. Christian Priser, 607 project leader, said that Peugeot has made organisational changes in its quality control department and now carried out predictive reliability studies on what can go wrong with each component.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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