Peugeot is about to launch its third-generation 308 range in Australia with a new design, more technology, and a plug-in hybrid option that will see it compete at the premium end of the market.
At least, that’s what Peugeot Australia managing director Kate Gillis told CarExpert during an early look at a pre-production 308 GT Premium Hatch in Sydney last week.
“Firstly, the 308 is one of the most popular models Peugeot has ever had in Australia over two generations and many iterations, so it’s been critical to the brand here,” she said.
“But this new third-generation model with its radical design, new logo and badging, and the very latest technology and equipment… really does change 308’s positioning in the marketplace.
“At Peugeot, we talk a lot about being premium and while we’ve been challenged on that in the past… now we have a new model that speaks to the premium end of the market in so many ways.”
Gillis wouldn’t be drawn on specific makes and models the 308 goes up against, but did indicate local pricing and specification would reflect its more premium positioning in the segment.
“It’s definitely a step-up on any previous Peugeot 308 standing, with premium pricing and equipment levels that will signify as much with the new-generation car.
“For us the ambition is about building the familiarity of the brand as well as the 308 model, which is something we’re fully invested in from here on in for the next year or two.
“However, we’re probably not going to compete on that larger scale, or make the top 10 list, but we’d like to see strong customer demand for something unique in the market like the range-topping 308 GT Sport Plug-in Hybrid launching here earlier in H1, 2023.
“We’ve also got other new Peugeot models arriving like all-new 408 crossover landing in Q2 2023, as well as healthy dealer network that is bringing good people back into the Peugeot brand.
“With 308, it’s a great opportunity to bring something different, something fresh to this market that is truly eye catching,” she added.
It’s interesting that Peugeot can launch new-gen 308 in Australia as a premium play. In its home market of France, it holds a decidedly mainstream position.
Locally, Peugeot generally imports more highly specified cars into Australia than in European markets, in answer to buyer expectations here.
“The demand from the Australian consumer that we’re aiming to satisfy with our new-gen Peugeot 308 range is for a higher-specified vehicle that dictates we import cars with higher equipment levels than other markets,” said a local spokesperson.
“That’s what we are seeing even with our existing range, our customers are gravitating towards the higher-spec model variants. They automatically expect Peugeot to be at the upper end of the segment, and the upcoming 308 range fits perfectly with those expectations.”
The new 308 is also likely to be something of a catapult for other upcoming Peugeot models like the 408 crossover that’s set to arrive in 2023.
“New 308 is definitely a door-opener for a number of different models especially once the fresh new brand image of Peugeot has been established [across] the entire 308 range,” said Gillis.
“It’s a genuine game-changer for us at Peugeot, as you’re going to see that all-new radical design language of 308 start to appear across a whole range of new models we will look at for this market.”
Peugeot Australia will launch the new-generation 308 range, including the GT Hatch, GT Premium Hatch and GT Premium Wagon in Q4 2022, with the range-topping GT Sport Hatch P.H.E.V. (plug-in hybrid) arriving in the first half of 2023.
The new 308 hatch, 308 GT Premium Hatch and 308 GT Premium Wagon are powered by a three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine making 96kW of power and 230Nm or torque.
It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels.
The GT Sport Hatch PHEV combines a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a single electric motor, with a combined output of 165kW and 360Nm.
2023 Peugeot 308 indicative pricing
- 308 Hatch: $43,990
- 308 GT Premium Hatch: $48,990
- 308 GT Premium Wagon: $50,990
- 308 GT Sport PHEV : $66,990
All prices before on-road costs