More than 50,000 vehicles will be equipped with the system by 2005, with further substantial growth expected from 2008.
Jean-Martin Folz, chief executive officer of PSA Peugeot Citroen Group, said the system could slash fuel use by 5% to 8% and cut carbon dioxide emissions. The system achieves this because the engine is completely shut off when the vehicle is stationary, then restarted by a combined starter/alternator producing enough power to instantly restart the engine when the accelerator is next pressed.
Folz said: 'With stop-and-start, the first stage in hybridisation, our objective is to provide a rapidly available solution that offers the best possible cost/benefit ratio.'
He said a beneficial side-effect of the system was a substantial reduction in noise pollution.
Folz added: 'Tests in the Paris area showed that cars are at a standstill for 35% of the time, a figure that supports the deployment of stop-and-start technology. Beginning in 2004, vehicles equipped with stop-and-start systems will be gradually introduced in our product lines, a first in Europe for this emerging technology. We forecast that more than 50,000 Peugeot and Citroen vehicles will be equipped by the end of 2006.
'Looking to the future, our confidence in the development potential of this innovation is based on the driving pleasure and fuel efficiency it offers.'
The approach will work hand-in-hand with continuing development of its petrol and diesel engine line-up and investigation of other new technologies, such as fuel cells.