Peugeot 308 GTi Automatic Not a Priority Photo:

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Tony O'Kane | Dec, 18 2015 | 2 Comments

Peugeot Australia will launch its tasty 308 GTi hot hatch in February in two trims, with a 184kW "entry level" 250-badged model and a hi-po 200kW GTi 270 flagship, but if you were hanging out for an auto-equipped option you're fresh out of luck - an automatic isn't in the pipeline just yet.

And while the 308 GTi won't be alone as a manual-only hot hatch - the Megane RS and Focus ST also go without a self-shifting option - the lack of an auto may limit sales in Australia, where automatics are the transmission of choice for many.

"There's no plan for Peugeot Sport to offer an automatic, they are definitely about the enthusiast," Peugeot Australia spokesman Tyson Bowen told The Motor Report.

"From the information I have they'll never say never, but [automatic] is not a priority at the moment."

"Automatic is fundamental [for Australia], but we need to be realistic about that as well. The volume cars, the mainstream cars are where we've always asked for automatic, and now we're getting that through with the Aisin six-speed (on 208)."

But if Peugeot's experience with the 208 is anything to go by, the absence of an automatic 308 GTi may not prove much of a handicap.

"Even on 208, 17 percent of (total) sales are for the 208 GTi (which is manual only). So it's still nothing to be sneezed at," Bowen said.

Right now, over 70 percent of 308 GTi orders are for the $49,990 308 GTi 270 model, something that Bowen says may result in an adjustment in the volume of 270 models imported in successive batches.

Yet while year-to-date 308 sales are up 62 percent compared to the same period last year, he said it's too early to predict whether the arrival of the GTi will spark any further sales increases for the 308 family.

"Not having a GTi in 308 for that decade before may not have hurt sales, but it certainly hurt perception [of the brand] because Australia is a market that sporty models resonate with," Bowen said.

He also indicated that there was potential to grow the brand's spread of performance product through the wagon-bodied Touring variant of the 308 GT, which is currently only available in the European market (above).

Presently, the Touring versions of the regular 308 range account for around 30 percent of overall 308 sales - well up on the company's initial expectation of 8 percent - which works in favour of the 308 GT Touring's business case.

However, the green light has yet to be given for an Australian launch for that model.

MORE: Peugeot 308 GTi Preview Drive
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