PSA is looking to challenge Renault-Nissan’s dominance of the low cost car segment with a new sedan branded as a Peugeot.
The 301, shown above, will debut first in Turkey, with introductions following in Eastern Europe, South America and Africa. Based on the new 208 hatchback, the 301 was designed as a sedan due to the preference for roomy trunks in emerging markets (as as any Brazilian can surely confirm).
According to Bloomberg, the 301 is intended as a step up from the Dacia range, which are typically no-frills offerings devoid of most creature comforts. On the surface, it may seem that Peugeot is attempting a more premium low-cost car (as oxymoronic as that may sound) but that’s only part of the story. PSA not only lacks another nameplate like Dacia, but also the factories in countries like Romania and Morocco where labor costs are at rock bottom. The 301 is built in Spain, where hourly wages are five times that of Romania.
On the other hand, while Renault engineered the Dacia cars from a clean sheet of paper, the 301′s roots are in a much higher caliber of car, as the 208 is intended to help revive Peugeot’s fortunes in mature markets. While the 301 lacks the 208′s high end features like a touch screen and a start-stop system, it does have Bluetooth and advanced safety technologies not available on Dacia models.
Unfortunately for Peugeot, the road to conquering emerging markets is often fraught with obstacles, as one analyst told Bloomberg
“The market for these kinds of cars is the toughest…Peugeot’s trying to internationalize their business. The problem is that they’re always late to the party, with often the wrong product.”