Peugeot 308 range reshuffle coming, Golf R Wagon-rival unlikely

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The planned early 2016 local launch of the Peugeot 308 GTi is expected to be followed by revisions to the rest of the Australian 308 range, but a performance variant of the 308 wagon is unlikely to be among them.

Tyson Bowen, public relations and communications manager for Sime Darby Motors Group – Peugeot’s Australian distributor – has told CarAdvice that the process of assessing which of the current five variants available have been the most successful is already underway.

“We continue to look at the entire model line-up and where we’re strong and where we’re weak and where things can be altered,” Bowen said.

“[The February 2016 308 GTi launch] may not necessarily signal a complete overhaul of the line-up, but there might be a tweak here and there. Or we might try and secure other spec for a different car.”

Speaking at a Peugeot 308 GTi ‘preview’ drive event at Sydney Motorsport Park this week, Bowen said that while first/second quarter next year is when a few changes will “probably” start to be seen, “for the most part, where 308 is at the moment, everything seems to be working.”

“Everything has been designed for a specific role,” Bowen said.

One model to have surprised the local distributor has been the 308 Touring wagon (pictured above). Originally forecast to account for eight per cent of total 308 sales, the wagon variant of the French small car now makes up 30 per cent.

“So that’s always going to be the pleasant surprise,” Bowen said.

“And year-to-date the whole range is up 62 per cent. So we need to look very carefully at what changes we make to ensure that we don’t weaken the whole line-up.”

One model that fans of performance wagons are crying out for – including several within the CarAdvice offices – is a GTi version of the 308 Touring.

But while the hatchback 308 GTi continues the brand’s renewed focus on performance oriented product – following the launch of the Peugeot Sport-fettled RCZ R and 208 GTi – a challenger to the likes of the new Volkswagen Golf R Wagon (pictured below) and Seat Leon ST Cupra 280 appears a ways off.

“Obviously in Australia, performance product is more popular than elsewhere in the world, so we’re excited to be able to offer not just a 208 GTi but also a 308 GTi,” Bowen said.

“Beyond that, for the moment, I think we just make sure we do this car justice and then if there’s a nice surprise coming in the future than we’ll grab that one as well.

“Whether there’s a market for a performance variant of a wagon… Definitely there’s no plans beyond the hatch variant at the moment, so even if we would like to see it, we’ve got to wait for France to come back to us.

“There’s also [the fact that] we haven’t had this car in this segment, so we’ve got to make this work before we can go cap in hand and say, ‘We’d like to see this, this and this.’ Based on early numbers [though], we’re quietly confident.”

Bowen adds, “Who knows what surprises [Peugeot Sport] might have up their sleeve in the future. Whatever they come to us with, we’ll certainly be considering it for here, anytime.”

Speaking exclusively to CarAdvice after the 308 GTi’s international launch, Peugeot product communication officer Pierre-Yves Etienney said a 308 Touring GTi (or SW, as the station wagon body style is referred to in Europe) was not in the company’s planning “at the moment” for two reasons.

“Firstly, we have focused our strengths on the development of the 308 GTi to reach one objective: to develop the best car according to our specifications. Secondly, even if such versions are proposed – for example [to take] on the Volkswagen Golf and Seat Leon [wagons] – it gathers very, very few customers.

“Nevertheless,” Etienney said, “if the segment has to grow in the future, we could consider it.”

Although a wagon version of the current 308 flagship, the GT, is offered in Europe, the model (pictured above) is not available locally, leaving the $38,393 and $40,622 Allure Premium petrol and diesel to wear the top-spec wagon crowns respectively.

That said, Bowen says a 308 Touring GT is something Sime Darby would consider for Australia – and it’s a vehicle they’ve already expressed interest in.

“It’s just about how that fits into [the existing range],” Bowen said.

“You don’t want to go adding more [models] in – it just adds complexity for no real return. But it’s something that we believe would have potential, we’ve just got to look at the whole line-up at the moment.”

Tell us, would you put your hand up for a Peugeot 308 Touring GTi if one were to be built? Let us know in the comments section below.