SW is key to 508 being on course for 30,000+ sales in 2019

SW is key to 508 being on course for 30,000+ sales in 2019

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Only one of Europe's top five brands saw rising sales for the year to the end of May. As the new models keep coming, Peugeot has pulled away from Ford and closed the gap to Renault to fewer than 17,000 passenger vehicles. Now the new 508 SW is helping Peugeot to regain share in the D segment too.

Peugeot catching Renault and ahead of Ford

Numbers for 27 EU markets show Volkswagen naturally well in the lead but its volume has dipped (765,821, -4%). After this, things get interesting as Renault's second place (459,315, -6%) is for now safe from Peugeot (442,618, +0.2%) but Renault suffered a 10% fall in May. Look also at Ford of Europe, its total being 442,005, a year-on-year decline of 8%.

Guess which brands are in fifth behind the blue oval? Groupe PSA's Opel and Vauxhall, on 391,212, albeit their tally also being down (by 3%). The impact of the new Corsa could really shake things up over the second half of the year, even if Ford was able to lift its game in June.

Peugeot in Britain: more good news

Britain is a good example of what's going on across the region, the lion logo brand seeing a 1.4 per cent dip for the year to the end of June (ACEA data for all of Europe are yet to be published) while the market itself fell by 3.4 per cent. At the half way mark, Peugeot had delivered 44,344 vehicles, which was some 15,000 more than Citroen (29,422, +4%), about 1,000 fewer than Hyundai (45,916, -10%) and remains ahead of Skoda (41,264, -3%).

D segment leadership for 508 in France

As I noted when reviewing the hatchback three months ago, the 508 leads the D segment in its homeland, sales to the end of May being 5,353, up 77% compared to the old model. In May, when 1,599 were registered, this model was only 77 units behind the Qashqai, ending the month in a respectable 31st position. The next most popular D segment vehicle was the Mercedes C-Class, down in 54th place, with half the monthly volume of the Peugeot and a year-to-date tally of 3,850.

Across those 27 EU markets I spoke about earlier, the 508 racked up a surprising 14,014 registrations for the year to the end of May. Could that become thirty thousand plus registrations by year end?

PSA's multi-model D segment strategy

While no-one was watching, Groupe PSA has quietly gone about attempting to find good volume and margins in the D/E segment. There will supposedly be a return for Citroen too but not until 2021. Before then, the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia gets an early facelift and various fresh powertrains to lower the range-wide CO2 average. With others having left this size class, PSA sees an opportunity to give the Volkswagen Group some competition in the 4.7-5.0m long sedan/hatchback and wagons segment.

Hatchback, SW and extended wheelbase bodies

The 508 hatchback has been manufactured at Mulhouse in France since October 2018, the same month as the estate premiered at the Paris motor show. SW sales commenced in LHD markets from January but cars for Britain didn't arrive in dealerships until 1 July.

The 4,778mm long Sport Wagon gains 28mm on the hatchback and shares that car's frameless design for the side windows. There is a third body style: an extended length hatchback for China called 508L. That one has frames for its doors' glass, a wheelbase which is 55mm longer and an overall length of 4,856mm.

More headroom for the estate

One interesting fact is extra headroom in the back of the SW compared to the hatchback. That's because the estate's roofline does not slope so acutely behind the B pillars.

The all-turbo line-up is as follows:

  • 130PS 1.5-litre diesel
  • 160PS 2.0-litre diesel
  • 180PS 2.0-litre diesel
  • 180PS 1.6-litre petrol
  • 225PS 1.6-litre petrol

With the exception of the 130PS diesel which comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, an eight-speed automatic is standard.

Distinctive interiors now a Peugeot USP

As with the hatchback, the driving position and layout of all the controls, especially the steering wheel, can take a little while to feel normal. You're inevitably quickly won over though. In fact, whatever car you next drive, the steering wheel feels way too big.

Somehow it doesn't seem to matter that this car lacks the sharp dynamics which others such as the Mondeo or new 3 Series possess as to look at, sit and drive, the 508 feels so different - in a very good way - to anything else in its class.

What's next: a PHEV 508

A 508 with a 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid petrol powertrain becomes available from October in both China and Europe. It was announced to the media in September last year and made its public premiere in hatchback and wagon forms at the Paris motor show soon after.

Peugeot claims that there will be no loss of boot space as the battery pack is located below the floor of the luggage compartment. There is however, a major downside to this, which is the fact that there is no spare tyre.

The car's range on electricity alone is claimed to be as much as 50km (WLTP). A higher performance variant was previewed by the 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered concept, a hatchback which was a world premiere at this year's Geneva motor show. The prototype was powered by a turbocharged petrol engine and one motor which had claimed combined torque of 500Nm.

Groupe PSA's electrification policy is to have fully electric smaller models (CMP architecture vehicles), with petrol-electric plug-in hybrid versions of its bigger (EMP2 architecture) vehicles.

The line-up of EMP2-based PHEVs will include the DS 7 E-Tense 4x4, Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, Peugeot 508 Hybrid, Peugeot 508 SW Hybrid, Citroen C5 Aircross, Opel Grandland X and Vauxhall Grandland X. There will be two versions of the PHEV system, with a two-motor option producing around 300PS and sending drive to both axles or a single-motor delivering around 250PS for front-wheel drive applications.

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