While the light commercial van ranges of both Peugeot and Citroen may have only made a small impact in Australia, that could soon be about to change if the French duo embark on plans to introduce a 4x4 ute.
At the launch of the new Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch vans in France, Peugeot CEO Maxime Picat conceded that the pick-up market presented an opportunity for the brand.
Denis Martin, CEO of PSA Europe, said that PSA Peugeot Citroen would next week outline a six-year growth plan under the title ‘Push To Pass’.
Along with the usual announcements concerning green technology and SUV expansions, it's highly likely that a 4x4 ute will form part of the plan. But where would such a vehicle come from?
Like the newly-revealed Expert and Dispatch vans, which share their basic structure with the Toyota ProAce (a van that isn’t sold in Australia), the new ute could be sprung off the basics of the Toyota Hilux.
Fiat is another potential joint venture partner, with the PSA Peugeot Citroen having teamed up with the Fiat Professional commercial vehicle division in the past for the Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Jumper vans, rebadged versions of the Fiat Ducato.
While the new pick-up may not be a huge seller in Europe, where ute sales are relatively low, it would offer decent sales opportunities in South America, and could provide both brands with a healthy sales boost in the ute-crazed Australian market.
The investment required to build a new chassis from the ground up would be somewhat prohibitive for PSA, which is still carefully monitoring its finances, but entering into a joint venture means lower overheads.
Unlike the 2007 Citroen Cruise Crosser concept (shown at top of page), expect an eventual production version to be more closely tied to the Hilux, with a brand-specific bumper and grille the only major changes.
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