Auto blogThu, 09 Oct 2014
PSA Peugeot-Citroën already lost a lot of control of its automotive business earlier this year when Dongfeng and the French government each bought 14 percent shares of the struggling firm to keep it alive. The company's scooter division, one of the oldest in the world, is now facing a similar situation as Indian motoring giant Mahindra has offered to buy a 51-percent share of it for better access to the two-wheel market.
Mahindra is willing to pay a total of 28 million euros ($35.5 million) - 15 million euros ($19 million) up front and another 13 million euros ($16.5 million) later - to acquire a majority stake in the company founded in 1898. According to The Financial Express, the deal isn't officially complete yet because it still has to go through the usual regulatory hoops, but Mahindra thinks all that could be complete in the next three months. The first rumblings of the possible purchase came just a few weeks ago.
According to The Financial Express, Peugeot's two-wheel division is Europe's second-largest scooter maker behind Italy's Piaggio, but the company isn't a moneymaker. "In a European market that has been in steep decline for several years, the partnership with M&M would enable Peugeot Scooters to diversify its business base and speed its international expansion," said the French corporation in a statement. The firm operates factories in France, China and Taiwan.
Want to get your hands on a new French car? If you live in the United States, you're pretty much out of luck. Mainstream French automakers like Renault, Peugeot and Citroën don't compete in the US marketplace. However, American buyers may get some French flavor in a few years' time in the form of DS.
For those unfamiliar, DS is a brand under the umbrella of Peugeot SA. Until recently it existed as a sub-brand of the Citroën division, but is now being spun off into its own unit, with its own products and aspirations - and those include the US marketplace. This according to Yves Bonnefont, the newly named CEO of the DS brand and top lieutenant of PSA chief Carlos Tavares. "We want to make DS a global premium brand," Bonnefont revealed to Automotive News Europe at the Paris Motor Show where it unveiled the concept pictured above. "And you cannot be global without the US." It would likely take until after 2020 to enact the plan, however, closing out three decades since Peugeot withdrew from the US market in 1991.
PSA Peugeot Citroën ranks among the few largest automakers in Europe, the top ten largest in the world, and certainly one of the largest that does not participate in the North American market. The company recently underwent a shift in ownership and management, bringing the French government and Chinese automaker Dongfeng on board and naming a new slate of top executives. Among the many steps the new ownership and management have taken is to separate the DS line from the Citroën brand.
The Paris Motor Show is Peugeot's big chance to show off its newest wares to the home crowd, and the company has a ton of vehicles on display at this year's exhibition. Unfortunately, the Exalt concept is one of the more lackluster of the bunch. With its long, low body, the sedan certainly isn't ugly. However, Peugeot already showed the Exalt at the Beijing Motor Show earlier this year, and it hasn't done too much to change it for the City of Light.
The latest evolution of the Exalt still wears a unique paint finish over much of its body, but the rear panels are now painted gray, instead of the contrasting red from Beijing. The interior for the Paris version is at least reupholstered to replace the previous light gray and dark wood with pinstripe fabric and a lighter shade of timber.
Under the hood, things are left the same with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine sending 270 horsepower to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic. There's also an electric motor powering the rear axle for a total system output of 340 horsepower at a full gallop. Peugeot did make one small tweak for Paris by hiding a foldaway, electric scooter in the floor of the trunk. Scroll down to read all about this rehashed concept.
One of the more intriguing automotive technologies on the market is PSA's Hybrid Air drivetrain, which is being shown rather prominently at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in both the Citroën C4 Cactus Airflow 2L and in this, the Peugeot 208 Hybrid Air 2L.
The gist of the Hybrid Air system is this: rather than mate a gas-powered engine with an electric motor and battery pack, the 208 Hybrid Air 2L uses a compressed air tank underneath the trunk, a low-pressure tank near the rear axle and a hydraulic system in the engine bay.
In the 208 Hybrid Air 2L, that compressed-air system is paired with a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine. So equipped, this particular "tech demonstrator" can run on any combination of power sources, including in a zero-emissions, compressed-air-only mode. Like the C4 Cactus Airflow 2L, the result of this powertrain is impressive, with the 208's fuel consumption ringing up at just 2.0 liters per 100 kilometers of travel, or about 117 US miles per gallon (equal to the C4 Concept's 141 European mpg).
In the face of hot five-door hatches like the Ford Focus ST, Volkswagen Golf R and Renault Megane GT 220 (to say nothing of the Renaultsport Megane), it's high time that French manufacturer Peugeot added some life to its C-segment entry, the 308.
This is the 308 GT, and while it won't pose a threat to hotter models like the Focus ST or Golf R, the availability of gas, diesel, five-door-hatch and station wagon varieties should prove appealing to a wider range of customers than the aforementioned challengers.
That gas mill is already pretty familiar to both American and European consumers, as it's been found in a number of Mini products (not to mention a wide array of vehicles from PSA). The 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder packs 202 horsepower in this particular Pug, while 210 pound-feet of torque are dispatched to the front wheels courtesy of a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The turbodiesel offering, meanwhile, displaces 2.0 liters and returns 177 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
Peugeot is going through a bit of a rough patch recently with Dongfeng and the French government coming to its rescue earlier this year. For the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the company is bringing out everything it can to show strength to the home market. Among the automaker's concepts this year is the high-performance Quartz that imagines a very tough crossover.
True to its rocky name, the Quartz looks chiseled from a block of stone with sharp, angular lines covering the whole body. Up front, its LED headlights are recessed behind the hood's overhang to lend a menacing demeanor, and the louvers in the side of the hood take the angry appearance even further. It also rides on some seriously weird 23-inch wheels with composite flaps to direct airflow.
Underneath the long hood is Peugeot's 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 270 horsepower and a six-speed automatic. However, the setup is augmented with an electric motor hooked up to each axle boosting total system output to 500 hp. Alternatively for a greener drive, the Quartz can drive 31 miles on an electric charge.
The Peugeot family might be going back to their pepper mill business since losing a big stake in the company, but the automaker itself is still hard at work with a new concept for the Paris Motor Show. Its latest creation is the Peugeot Quartz that imagines a high-performance CUV with a 500-horsepower, hybrid drivetrain on tap.
To move this sporty-looking CUV, Peugeot fits it with the company's 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 270 hp and 243 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed automatic, then augments that with two electric motors that each produce 114 hp (85 kilowatts) to directly drive the front and rear axles. The automaker claims that the Quartz could go 31 miles on a purely electric charge. However in Race mode things get really interesting, and all three power units work together to motivate the concept.
With its long hood and sloping roof, the Quartz looks like a sports coupe that lifts weights. Its 23-inch wheels have composite flaps to direct airflow, and look massive. Up front, the concept is all business with a mesh grille and arching LED headlights. The subtle louvers hidden in the sides of the hood-bulge are an especially neat styling trick. Moving back from there, the red accents on the flanks actually disguise extending steps into the cabin.
The Peugeot family has long been the largest shareholder in the company that bears its name. But PSA Peugeot Citroën - one of Europe's largest automakers - recently launched a capital campaign that saw it sell large chunks of shares to overseas investors, decreasing the Peugeot family's stake from 25.5 percent to 14.1 percent. The move meant that the Peugeots are no longer in control of Peugeot SA (PSA), so now they're looking to other interests. Like pepper grinders.
If you've ever traveled to Europe, you may have seen a Peugeot pepper grinder on the tables of finer restaurants. The Peugeot family started out making pepper grinders, coffee mills and bicycles in the early 1800s before it got into the car business, but like Volvo cars (which is owned separately from Volvo trucks) or Husqvarna motorcycles (which has nothing to do with the home appliance and power tools operations of the same name), the Peugeot pepper-grinder business has nothing to do with the automaker.
The family recently began diversifying its assets and this past June regained control of PSP Peugeot SAS, the company that makes the grinders. Now that the carmaking business is out of its hands, the family is putting its nose back to the grindstone and focusing on the peppermill operation.
Peugeot chose wisely when it got back into the hot-hatch game. Instead of going after the big boys, it went small with the 208 GTI, which arrived around the same time as the latest Renaultsport Clio. Where Renault went with a crowd-pleasing five doors and a dual-clutch gearbox, Peugeot went old-school with three doors and a stick shift. Bolstered by positive reviews, Peugeot's been widely expected to apply a similar formula to the larger 308, but instead of going for Golf R territory, it's guardedly going after the GTI instead.
The new 308 flagship model packs a 1.6-liter turbo four - the same engine in the 208 GTI, not to mention a host of other PSA and Mini models - but with a touch more output, now up to 202 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, driven to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission to send the 308 GT to 62 in 7.5 seconds (lamentably a full second off the pace of the VW GTI). It also gets a retuned and lowered suspension, upgraded brakes and rolling stock and sportier trim, but that's not the end of the story.
In addition to the five-door hatchback, Peugeot is also offering the 308 GT in wagon form, just like the Ford Focus ST. It's also offering a diesel option with a six-speed automatic. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel four packs 177 hp and 295 lb-ft, roughly comparable to the Golf GTD and new diesel Focus ST.
It used to be that a concept car would make its big show debut, then maybe make the rounds of some smaller local shows and subsequently disappear. But recently automakers have been giving their show cars a new lease on life. Lexus did just that with the LF-LC concept, introducing it in red at the Detroit Auto Show and then repainting it blue for Sydney. Subaru has taken a similar approach with its Viziv concept, much as Mini did with the Rocketman. And now Peugeot is following suit with its Exalt concept.
First revealed at the Beijing Motor Show a few months back, the Exalt is a svelte four-door coupe concept encompassing innovative approaches to both construction materials and powertrain. Now it's coming home to roost for the Paris Motor Show next month, and has put on a fresh face for the trip.
The original featured a red "shark skin" rear end that gave the Exalt a two-tone finish in contrast with the hand-beaten bare metal bodywork fore of the rear wheels and pillars. For the Paris show, however, Peugeot has given the concept a new grey rear end. It's also redone the recycled newsprint interior from the original light grey with dark wood to a dark fabric with light wood trim.