Fleet News

Paris Show Preview: French put on style for Paris Show 2002

PRE-production firebrands and futuristic concept cars will form the basis of Peugeot's unveilings at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show which begins on September 24, promising to meet all fleet drivers' prime concerns – from functionality and frugality to style and performance.

206 GTi 180

THE latest Peugeot GTi will be built exclusively at Coventry – home of the 206 – and is set to go on sale in January, badged the GTi 180. It is priced at about £14,000/£15,000 to compete head-on with the likes of the 172bhp 2.0-litre Renault Cliosport, which costs £15,095 on-the-road. A Peugeot spokesman said the new 206 was in response to the demand for 'sexy' cars.

The GTi 180 will be the most powerful road-going version of the car. Its 2.0-litre 16v four cylinder petrol engine delivers 180bhp (42bhp more than the existing 206 GTi) at 7,000 rpm, boosted by variable valve timing to ensure 'optimum engine torque is provided across the speed range'. It has an unofficial top speed of 143mph and reaches 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds.

Sporty features include 17-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, full body-coloured bumpers and side strips, a new exhaust finished with twin chromed tailpipes, modified front suspension with stiffer springs and ESP (electronic stability programme) combining traction control and directional control.

Inside are leather sports seats, black dials with chrome surrounds and an aluminium gear knob and pedals. Specification will include digital air conditioning with climate control, CD autochanger, heat reflective windscreen, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights and electrically retractable door mirrors. The 206 GTi 180 will expand the Sports range (Quiksilver, XSi, Dturbo and GTi 138bhp) to five models.

307 CC

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A 307-inspired by the 206 Coupe Cabriolet will be one of Peugeot's concept cars at Paris and the company was dropping strong hints that the car will enter production.

The prime attraction of the 307 CC (pictured above) is a steel folding roof, controlled electronically by the driver to fold into a fully- enclosed space at the rear of the car, mirroring the design of the 206 CC. The 307 CC is fitted with a 2.0-litre four cylinder 16v engine offering 180bhp. It has 18 inch six-spoke alloy wheels, colour-coded door handles and chrome-plated exterior mirrors, while inside there is a leather steering wheel and dials with a chrome surround.

Strong public reaction at Paris would ensure its future and should it reach dealerships, it would be priced head-to-head with the Vauxhall Astra Cabriolet, the 2.2-litre version of which retails for £18,995 on-the-road.

607 Pescarolo

A PUBLIC clamouring to see Peugeot's executive car given the sports treatment is the only way the 607 concept will ever reach the streets.

Bringing a sports feel to Peugeot's executive car is the 607 Pescarolo concept. The car has been given what Peugeot calls an 'aggressive' styling with enlarged air intakes on the front skirt and bigger front and rear wings, a twin chrome exhaust, 19-inch alloys with wire spokes, together with the suspension being lowered 25mm.

Peugeot says the 607 Pescarolo could be adapted to house the V6 engine found in the C60 Pescarolo Sport that competed in the 24 hour Le Mans race. It has a maximum power output of more than 400bhp, together with a sequential automatic gearbox and a four ventilated disc braking system.

However, Peugeot insisted there were no real plans to take the car beyond the concept phase. 'Unless public reaction is incredible, it will remain a concept,' a spokesman said.

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Partner

PEUGEOT introduced the all-new Partner which will be available in four versions on the Continent– XR, XT, XT Pack and Ushuaia Grand Raid – in both LCV and car guises. But it has not yet been decided whether the UK will get all four.

The LCV will be available in either standard trim with a payload of 600kg or comfort trim, with 600kg or 800kg payload.

The new Partner will come with a choice of two petrol engines, the 1.4 75bhp and 1.6 110bhp and two diesels, the 1.9 70bhp and 2.0-litre 90bhp HDi. All models have a five-speed manual gearbox.

The Partner's front end has been redesigned with a 40mm higher, more horizontal bonnet, with new headlamps and front wings and lower front bumper.

Storage space has been increased so there is an air conditioned glovebox that can accommodate an A4 notebook and there is a storage space between the two front seats, featuring three bottle holders. Cruise control is available as an option in the XT, XT Pack, Ushuaia Grand Raid and Comfort. All petrol versions are fitted with a fuel cell cut off device in the event of a collision.

Power steering is standard across the range and ABS is available as an option on all versions. Peugeot says it is unlikely to introduce the 'all-terrain' Ushuaia Grand Raid spec version in the UK.

Sesame

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PEUGEOT has given the strongest suggestion yet of the car which could replace the 106 in the form of a new B segment concept called the Sesame (pictured above), aimed at being a 'small, versatile urban car'. Powered by a 1.6-litre 110bhp engine, the car is 3.7 metres long and has two electric sliding side doors meant to allow ease of access to the four seats in 'confined city streets and small parking bays'. From the front, the Sesame has been designed to look like the 206 and 307 with similar headlights and radiator grille.

The 106 has been in production since 1989 and despite selling beyond Peugeot's expectations – thanks largely to its £5,995 price tag plus free insurance – it is likely 2003 will see its last full year of production.

H2O

PEUGEOT called in the fire brigade to help design a new concept in fuel cell technology that signalled the manufacturer's move towards sustainable power sources. Using technology first seen in the Taxi PAC demonstrator put on show at Frankfurt in 2001, the H2O is an electric vehicle fitted with an auxiliary power unit providing a continuous source of electrical energy, powering functions which enable the vehicle to be used in fire fighting – pumps, smoke extractors, communication systems and electric sockets.

807

Four versions of the new 807 that will go on sale in the UK in January 2003 will be on show. The most innovative features of the car are the electric sliding doors, foldable seven seats and curtain safety airbags in all three rows of seats, a first for an MPV.

Citroen

Berlingo

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THE redesigned Berlingo is, according to Citroen, the most important story for the UK fleet market. Simultaneously revealing the new look vehicle with Peugeot's redesigned version called the Partner, the Berlingo has a fresh front end with larger bumper, higher headlamps and new grille and a new interior, with some additional storage space, smaller steering wheel and new instrument cluster.

The new Berlingo will be available with four engine choices: the 1.4-litre 75bhp, 1.6 16v 110bhp, 1.9 diesel 71bhp and 2.0 HDi 90bhp. In early 2003 a 1.4-litre 72bhp liquefied petroleum gas version is expected to be put into production. A Citroen spokesman said: 'The van is one of the best selling in the UK. Our sales overall last year were up some 20%.

Total sales in 2001 for the van version were 11,200 and the Multispace 5,459. This year, to the end of July, it's 7,600 and 4,300 units respectively. British Gas and Sky are among Citroen's biggest Berlingo customers.

'We're coming out with the Mark II version just as Ford enters this market. The new Berlingo will put us in a strong version to win against all the competition. Having created the market sector, it would only be right that we were heading it – simultaneously strengthening our position as the third largest van supplier in the UK after Ford and Vauxhall.'

Citroen said elements of the new Berlingo that addressed its use as a commercial vehicle included the larger bumper and protective side strips and the heightened position of the headlights to 'protect them from minor impacts', together with the strengthening of the bodyshell.

Launch date for the new Berlingo is November in both Multispace and van versions, once it has premiered at Paris and been put on display at the British International Motor Show, when prices are expected to be announced.

C3 Pluriel

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CITROEN'S new addition to the C3 range is the Pluriel, which it claims is a unique development for multi-purpose, all-season driving.

First shown as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1999, the Pluriel saloon/ cabriolet/pick-up will be launched in the UK sometime before the end of June. It will cost from about £12,500 to £13,000 and be around £1,000 more than the C3 saloon in each respective trim level.

There will be two petrol engines available, the 1.4-litre 75bhp and the 1.6 16v 110bhp, equipped as standard with the SensoDrive five-speed gearbox already available in the C3 saloon. There are no plans for a Pluriel diesel.

The Pluriel is built on the same platform as the C3 saloon, yet shares no parts. The prime selling point of the new car, Citroen believes, will be the fact that not only does the soft top roof slide back and the B-pillars lower into the body of the car, but the roof can also be manually retracted completely underneath the boot and the side arches removed to convert into a cabriolet – known as the Pluriel Spider.

The rear seats can also be folded flat and the boot opens downwards, creating a flat loading area and storage space. This version Citroen refers to as the Pluriel Spider Pick-up.

Claude Satinet, Citroen managing director, said the Pluriel 'would become a symbol of Citroen's vitality'. And when asked about the sense of building a car of untried functionality and radical design, he responded: 'When you begin to design something you don't always have a logical target in mind.

'When we started designing the Pluriel three years ago we weren't sure it would be feasible from a technical point of view – and that fact came at a cost.' It was revealed that the development of the Pluriel had cost Citroen 95 million euro.

There are as yet no firm plans to introduce a diesel version.

Commenting on the impact the Pluriel would have on the appeal of the Citroen range, a spokesman said: 'It will have the same pricing as a standard saloon car, but will offer so many more choices to the user because of its radical design. For the price of an upmarket supermini the user will get a first rate saloon and a convertible for their money.'

Airdream Concept

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Citroen unveiled a coupe concept with 'extraordinary aerodynamics and all round visibility', featuring a steering wheel with all the essential driving controls positioned in a central hub. The car is called the Airdream and will be on show at Paris in production-ready form.

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