Auto blogThu, 27 Jun 2013 17:46:00 EST
It's doom and gloom time, folks - PSA Peugeot-Citroën is seriously on the ropes. According to a report from Reuters, citing those ever-so-mysterious "people familiar with the matter," suggests that the Peugeot family, which currently owns a 25.4-percent stake in the eponymous automaker and 38.1 percent of voting rights, "has now accepted that they will lose control" of the company. The rumormill churns with the possibility that control of Peugeot and Citroen will be handed over to General Motors, which spent $423 million to obtain seven percent of Peugeot last year.
If GM doesn't accept control of Peugeot, which would require a cash outlay that GM has already said it isn't going to spend (at least not without assurances that it will be allowed to shutter factories and lay off workers in France and Germany), analysts predict Peugeot will run out of cash before the end of 2013. Peugeot had previously turned to Dongfeng, a Chinese company it has allied with in the industrial sector, for assistance, but those talks have apparently stalled.
What would GM do with Peugeot if it were to make an additional investment? The answer is murky at best, but previous speculation had pinned a slew of shared platforms between the French automaker and GM's European arm, Opel, along with the consolidation of workforce and manufacturing capabilities. In other words, plant shutdowns, laid-off workers and the expected monetary savings those actions would bring.
In preparation for the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb being held later this month, Sébastien Loeb is getting in his first testing sessions of his Red Bull-sponsored Peugeot 208 T16 racecar. Marking its return to Pikes Peak for the first time in 14 years, Peugeot has released an exciting video that provides a look into the background behind this effort, as well as our first look at the car in its race-ready Red Bull livery.
Loeb, a Pikes Peak rookie, will be driving this specially modified 208 T16 in the Unlimited class with an 875-horsepower, twin-turbo V6 mounted in the rear. The video gives us an excellent perspective as the racecar rockets up the hill, and we all get to hear the powerful engine in action. Scroll down to watch this video, and we'll have more coverage of the race in a couple of weeks.
What you're looking at here is the most powerful production car Peugeot has ever created - the RCZ R, set to make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. The French automaker showed off a concept version of this hotter R model at the Paris Motor Show last year, and the actual road-going car will be available for purchase toward the end of 2013.
Under the hood is a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine good for 260 horsepower, and Peugeot says the car "promises intense dynamic sensations from the legacy of its race-bred experiences." This evidently means the car will have a unique suspension setup, a specific wheel design and a new Torsen limited-slip differential to keep those front rollers in check.
In addition to a show car, Peugeot will drive a RCZ R during the Festival of Speed weekend, with Bradley Philpot - the man who raced the company's 208 GTi in the recent 24 Hours of Nürburgring event - at the helm.
To advertise the Peugeot 208 in Brazil, the company's local agency has gone all the way back to 1965 - and a cartoon that predates most of the hatchback's buyers, probably - to the Wacky Races. An unassuming lad in a 208, busy minding his own business at a stoplight, is set upon by the eternally competing gang known for its outrageous rides and even more outrageous tactics. Even the little-regarded Private Meekly gets a front-and-center cameo.
The ad was headed by Young & Rubicam Brasil, directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet for Partizan, and was edited by Mr. Smedley, who might or might not be another cartoon connection to Chilly Willy. You can watch it below.
Climb Dance, the rally-porn film celebrating the Pikes Peak Hill Climb victories of Ari Vatanen in 1988 and Robby Unser in 1989 - and including footage from both drives - has been remastered in high definition. It was commissioned by Peugeot, maker of the four-wheel steering 415 T16 Grand Raid, the racecar that took both drivers to the top to overall victories.
Peugeot will be hoping that Sébastien Loeb can dance the same way next month when he runs up the now-paved mountain in his 208. You'll find the breathtaking remastered Climb Dance below, as well as tribute the Motor Trend made with Marcus Gronholm in a Ford Fiesta back in 2009. Enjoy.
As much as we applaud automakers for flexing their design muscles every now and then, we occasionally find ourselves raising our eyebrows at the "new family design language" that companies smatter across their products. For example: Have a look at pretty much everything Peugeot has put out in recent years. Funky stuff, to be sure, but not always the sort of vehicles that garner adjectives like "pretty" or "sleek." And the old 308 hatchback was perhaps one of the company's worst offenders.
But that changes, right now. Peugeot has taken the wraps off of the new 308 hatch, and from what we can see in these high-res images, it's decidedly better looking. The design follows in the footsteps of the recently launched 2008 crossover, boasting cleaner lines without that huge, gaping maw up front. Instead, there are slimmer, LED-capped headlamps and pronounced foglamps, topped off with a rakish hood. Strong body lines flow from front to back, where there's a clean rump and a thick, windowless C-pillar. Large, split-five-spoke wheels round out all four corners.
Peugeot has not released any technical data about this 308 just yet, only saying that the new generation is a full (and appropriate) 308 pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the company's new modular EMP2 platform. Inside, the reworked interior features premium materials and a rather interesting design, with a 9.7-inch touchscreen interface in the center stack and an instrument panel that's set high on top of the dashboard. Pretty cool.
The annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the few events in motorsport with an Unlimited Class that is truly... well, unlimited. To put the word 'unlimited' in perspective, consider the Red Bull-sponsored Peugeot 208 T16: its 3.2-liter bi-turbo V6 engine puts out 875 maximum horsepower, sending power to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. That's powerful enough to catapult the T16 from 0-62 miles per hour in a scant 1.8 seconds. Keep it planted and it'll hit 125 in 4.8 seconds and 150 in 7.0 flat.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is freakishly fast.
Just ask Sébastien Loeb, a man who's no stranger to high-performance machinery, having won nine World Rally championships, who said of the T16 after his first testing session: "I've never driven anything that accelerates so fast! ... It's got the downforce of a Formula 1 car, the wide tires of an endurance racing prototype and a differential like a WRC car."
Peugeot is returning to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year after a 14-year absence, and it has begun teasing the 208 T16 that Sébastien Loeb will be piloting up the mountain. Sporting a carbon fiber effects package that you won't find on the dealership floor nor at your local tuner, even the cockpit is a surprise since it features a central driving position.
Waging war in the Unlimited Class, it will have gobs of power underhood, the number 208 on its sides and two self-locking diffs to get power to the proper wheels. The entire route is paved this year, but Loeb has proved he knows how to handle tarmac in a variety of circumstances: after taking third in the French GT Championship last year, he entered the FIA GT series this year and won the opening race of the season earlier this month in a McLaren MP4-12C.
Click on the image above to see it in high resolution.
In spite of troubles in other areas - and there are plenty of them - sales of the Peugeot 208 are a bright spot for the French carmaker. Attempting to grab that light and make sure it shines everywhere, the company is returning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30 with a specially prepared 208 driven by nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb.
Citroën has loaned Loeb to its PSA/Peugeot-Citroën sister company so that he could contest his first Pikes Peak - it only makes sense that he's looking to try new pastures after winning all of those World Rally Championship titles with Citroën. The 208, which will have the start number '208,' will be revealed in April. Peugeot has won the race twice, once with Ari Vatanen in a 206 T16 in 1988 and again the next year with Robby Unser in a 405 T16.
To get you ready, there's a press release and a short film below called Climb Dance which follows Vatanen's drive. We highly recommend a watch - better vintage car porn is hard to find.
It was always going to be hard for Peugeot to follow the blind-man-can-see-it neon paint of the 2008 Concept car - which was seared onto our retinas in Paris last year - but that doesn't mean the production version of the CUV here in Geneva is unattractive. The rather more sane white paint still covers pert, attractive lines on the new French crossover, and the Peugeot folks certainly have high hopes that European shoppers will feel good about it, too.
The Peugeot 2008 is a B-Segment follow-up to the automaker's larger 3008 CUV, and is set to go on sale in the spring of this year. The 2008 will be offered in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and is therefore a pretty big deal for the recently struggling Peugeot.
The goal of the 2008 is to offer a package that is usefully sized for urban environments, but with enough flexibility for customers that travel outside city streets. To that end, Peugeot has equipped the front-drive crossover with its Grip Control system, which allows for terrain and condition specific programming by the driver. Standard, Snow, All-Terrain and Sand modes all provide distinct operational programming to maximize traction.