New Peugeot South Africa managing director Xavier Gobille has one goal in mind: get the French automaker 'back in the race'.
Gobille launched the bold ‘Back in the race’ slogan at a press conference in Magaliesburg recently and outlined what the company is implementing to sell more cars and become more profitable locally.
The Frenchman is also the man behind reintroducing Citroen to the local market, with its official relaunch readied for late October.
Back to Peugeot and Gobille says his handpicked team is focusing on creating a better customer relationship, building a strong network (including training dealers and after-sales efficiency) and trimming the existing range to focus on growing segments.
One aspect that's important to Gobille's plan is to improve a Peugeot customer's ownership experience, one of those ways is offering a five-year or 100 000km warranty and service plan with every new car, as Gobille aims to occupy 2.5% of the market by 2021.
Gobille, a graduate from the prestigious Stanford school of business in North America, will also introduce a one-tonne bakkie to the market.
Two cars spearheading that challenge are the new 5008, a seven-seater SUV, and the firm's entry-level city car, the 108.
The test drives in the North West were too short for my liking, but I was impressed by the 5008's ride quality on the gravel section of the route. It displayed lots of composure and never felt uneasy despite it looking like a chic city slicker.
The 5008 is a seven-seater using an extended platform of the brand’s 3008 model. Both second and third row of seats folds down completely.
On the engine front, there are two derivatives: a 1.6-litre petrol turbo with 121kW and 240Nm, and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel producing 110kW and 370Nm. Both models employ a six-speed automatic transmission, which I found to be perfectly adequate when going about its business.
Pricing starts at R543 900 and tops out at R599 900, there are two trim levels on offer: an entry-level Allure and top-spec GT Line.
As I said earlier, a longer stint is needed to get better acquainted , but I was impressed by the build quality and smooth ride. The turbodiesel suffered from some lag but was fine once it got going.
My second drive of the day was the diminutive 108, aimed at first-time buyers with a launch price of R179 900. For that price, you get electric windows for the driver and front passenger, multi-function steering wheel, 8.8cm touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility including a USB port, aux port, and 12v socket.
Power comes from a tiny 1.0-litre three-cylinder normally-aspirated engine with 53kW and 93Nm mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Peugeot says it only produces 95g/km of CO2 emissions and averages 4.1-litres of petrol per 100km.
The little car is gutsy and has a cheeky three-cylinder thrum when revved, but when I turned the air conditioning on the power dropped a tad. The 108 offers decent value in terms of the specification, Peugeot also chucks in the five-year or 100 000km warranty and service plan.
Keep your eyes peeled to Peugeot's exploits, they're gunning for market share in South Africa and consumers are the ones that will benefit by taking advantage of good deals.