Peugeot’s updated 508 range has arrived in Australian showrooms, bringing a new petrol engine and efficiency improvements to the existing diesel powerplants.
The revised line-up will have its work cut out for it, however, with the outgoing range struggling to capture more than two percent of Australia's 'large passenger car' market in 2014.
Year-to-date, in 2015, that figure has not budged, leaving the French offering well behind the three locals in the same segment; the Holden Commodore (71 percent), Ford Falcon (15 percent) and Toyota Aurion (12 percent).
But Ford’s recently updated Falcon has failed to reignite steadily falling sales (the XR8 being the exception), and the badge only has around 18 months to live before Ford retires the Falcon name and model next year.
Aurion sales also eased 25 percent last year compared with 2013, and its future beyond 2017 when Toyota ceases local manufacturing is under a cloud.
The Commodore as we know it will also be gone by the end of 2017.
The updated 508 Active sedan with its new 1.6 litre engine can now lay claim to being the most economical petrol-powered model in the large car segment, and is similarly priced against some Commodore, Aurion and Falcon models at $37,990 plus on-roads.
Can the 508, therefore, attract some buyer interest in the large car segment as change envelops the three locals?
Speaking with TMR, Peugeot Australia’s PR and Communications Manager, Tyson Bowen, said one of the 508’s advantages is that it straddles both the medium and large car segments.
“The 508 from a size perspective can fit in the large or medium segments, for us the premise of 508 is that it’s an executive model,” Mr Bowen said.
“I think the model that can float between the two categories in terms of consideration is the 1.6 litre Active, so if you could see that cross-shopped between cars in the medium segment, the (more upmarket) Allure and the GT would naturally come as a push into the large car segment in terms of consideration.”
Mr Bowen said the 508’s new styling would help it attract attention in the market, as Peugeot aimed to ensure the updated model made it onto buyer’s shopping lists.
“I think styling will go a long way to getting that car considered or at least on people’s consideration list,” Mr Bowen said.
“Also running costs, with the new petrol drivetrain and the diesels being as efficient as they are, there’s a chance or opportunity for that car to grow, we just have to get it on peoples’ lists which is what we’ve looked at doing by specing the cars the way we have.”
Peugeot Australia’s National Marketing Manager, Dimitri Andreatidis, also outlined a new advertising campaign for the updated model.
Mr Andreatidis said the campaign would target pay TV subscribers via a new commercial, to be complemented with digital advertising.
The 2015 Peugeot 508 is on sale now.