Peugeot is investing £10.3 million ($US14.7 million) to build the new 206SW station wagon at its plant at Ryton, near Coventry, in the English Midlands.

The 206SW appeared in ‘concept#; form at the Frankfurt Motor show last September and the final production version will be at Geneva next month.

The SW has a 19 cm rear overhang which, combined with a flat floor, gives the new load hauler a boot area some 28% larger than that of the hatchback. It also has wrap-around rear lights, body-coloured door handles, door mirrors and number plate housing, and rear door handles set into the C-pillars.

A rear window that can be opened independently of the tailgate, either manually or via the remote control key, is said to be a world first in this segment. A load-securing mesh and pull-out load area cover are included.

Like the 206 hatchback, the SW will have a wide range of petrol engines – 1.1-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre - and two diesels – the 1.4- and 90bhp 2.0-litre HDi units.

The one-time Rootes Group/Chrysler plant at Ryton, which is already the sole source of right-hand drive and low-volume 206 hatchback derivatives, will also exclusively produce the new wagon version which is scheduled for sale this northern summer.

The 3,100-strong workforce will be boosted by up to 700 temporary staff as the 206SW ramps up while the plant becomes the first in the UK to drop the traditional summer shut-down in favour of flexible holiday breaks for line workers.

Ryton built its half-millionth 206 hatchback last September, three years after the model first went on sale. Over 250,000 have been sold in the UK alone.

Ryton builds all RHD 206s and the low-volume luxury Roland Garros version as well as exporting left-hand drive versions to Europe. Present output is 4,280 cars a week.