By on November 13, 2012

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.”

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21 Comments on “PSA’s Low Cost Efforts Bear Fruit...”

  • avatar

    A neighbor had a Peugeot and loved it. It was a comfortable car. For strange reason I always liked them, but never owned one. Not sure I want a Renault/Nissan rebadged as Peugeot but still, I wish them well and if they ever come back to the US I’ll give them a try.

  • avatar

    Peugeot seems to have missed the piece of the low cost car puzzle that involves making a profit. This just sounds like a high cost car that is missing the spec that would make it desirable to people that pay for high cost cars.

  • avatar

    Sounds like a hybrid of the clean-sheet redesign that Renault did with the Logan and the usual practice of building older models abroad (like the 404 which Nigeria only stopped making several years ago). Personally I like the idea of a de-contented modern car, and I’d bet it would eat away at Logan sales to Luddites in wealthier parts of Europe.

  • avatar

    “Peugeot says the 301 is intended for markets where driving conditions are poor and interior space, especially in the rear is a high priority. The 301’s durability has been verified by 4 million km of durability road testing on roads with poor surface and a varied range of climate conditions, from hot, cold to humid in several continents.

    According to Peugeot, among the adaptations made to beef up the 301 against the punishing conditions are double seals for dust and humidity protection, large number of screw fixings for increased robustness, running gear adapted for poor road conditions.

    There is a perception that cars made for the developing world are often made to a lower quality standard. However for the 301, Peugeot says the same standards in assembly quality ”

    Sounds a lot like a better looking Toyota Etios, but I guess their brand isn’t as strong as Toyota. I think its better than Dacia so if they price it right, they could have a winner.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Sometimes 1st world cars have to be simplified, and more often than not structurally reinforced, so they can be sold in the 3rd world.

      Then each country has its own set of challenges: middle east cars require strong dust control, tropical countries require good A/C and waterproofing and strong cooling system…

    • 0 avatar

      I really hope they build the 301 in developing markets with decent build quality, because so far this isn’t the case. Take a look at the crash tests of the Brazilian 207 Compact and see for yourself. Peugeot, just like everyone else, takes advantage of the developing markets and reduces costs as much as they can.

    • 0 avatar

      Not much hope for the 301 Magnusmaster. They’ll probably price it more in line with City and Linea and New Fiesta, than Logan or Cobalt or Grand Siena or Versa. If they do the car is dead.

  • avatar

    Both the 301 and its Citroen equivalent are unassuming but attractive cars – and they have more aspirational luster to them than Logans, Protons, or Tatas.

    In short, driving one of these, you don’t feel like a pauper, and you won’t be embarrassed if you could see yourself driving it. They’re just nice-looking little sedans.

    If there wasn’t already a Sonic sedan, I’d say Chevy could sell a version of it here ;)

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “while Renault engineered the Dacia cars from a clean sheet of paper”

    There’s so much wrong in this phrase. IIRC the Logan started life using Renault Clio guts.

    None of this low cost cars has been developed from a clean sheet of paper. And Renault didn’t started the trend either.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s right. The Renault-Dacia story is a long one, going back to 1968. It always has been a story of utilizing technology already developed and sold (“proven”) in different markets (c.f.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve found nothing to support this sweeping, dismissive statement. The Logan seems to have been designed from the outset to be a cheap car, built in a country with low labor costs. The 301 is a tweaked, cheapened-out 208, the Logan merely shares a platform with the Clio and Versa. I believe the Toyota Etios was custom designed for the BRIC countries as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile


        Firstly, I am not rebutting what you said about the 301.

        Second, my point with the Logan is that it is hardly a clean sheet design. Seeing how successful it has been, it doesn’t really matters if it was or not. That’s what is wrong with your statement. And part of your comment, which I quote below, basically supports my argument, go figure.

        “Logan merely shares a platform with the Clio and Versa”

        And we are not going to go and talk with the long relationship between Renault and Dacia, on which the other commenter supplied a link from wikipedia.

        One of the first OEMs in doing the “low cost 3rd world car” was Fiat with their 178/Palio, which was based on the last EU Uno, and that was circa ’96-97. And I am pretty sure someone else came with a similar idea before. So again, Renault is not the first to go this route, although their even more simplified approach is indeed innovative.

      • 0 avatar

        Hola amigo Athos.

        Sorry, but Derek is right though you have a point. The Logan stated out life as a BO platform. A derivation of the B platform that underpins the current Euro Clio. There were many changes from B to BO. And in some ways you could say they made a better car. So, it’s a clean sheet design cause it is a dedicated platform that spawned a family.

        Athos, like you mention with Palio, there were elements carried over from the B. However, like the Palio, its current platform does derive some things from the old one, but it is new. It is a current design with some holdovers.

        Herb, I’m sorry but the wikipedia article just generalizes so much it’s wrong. (almost) Nothing in the Logan comes from old Dacias.

        Derek, you’re right. The 301, though a looker, is a watered down 208 (and stretched and widened, compromises, compromises). The Etios and Logan are not version but new cars, made specifically to resist adverse conditions. Very good and adjusted cars to 3rd World conditions. I have now had the chance to drive an Etios for s short time. Long story short: The Logan is better.

  • avatar

    Will this car be coming to Mexico? I see lots of cars that are not in the US. Renault, Peugeot, Suzuki Swift, Hyundai H100. The Hyundai H100 is a small rear drive minivan. Back in the US, I had a Sprinter van. Here there are Fiat Doblo vans, Ford Transits and a very large Toyota van that I don’t know the model on. It is a completely different scene here. It is great if you like cars.

  • avatar

    “PSA not only lacks another nameplate like Dacia”

    Uhm? Try Talbot, Simca, Sumbeam, Hillman … In fact, PSA used Talbot for the leftover Chrysler Europe cars for a few years.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an accurate statement, PSA only has two brands – Peugeot and Citroen. The collection of dead brands in their portfolio is just that, a collection. Reintroducing any of them would be an expensive and involved process, really not much cheaper or easier than just making up a new name from scratch, and PSA evidently doesn’t have the cash to do either, or studied the market and decided a different badge wouldn’t bring any advantages.

      As recently as two years ago, the idea of reviving Talbot for a line of low cars was discussed, but things have changed a lot since then.

  • avatar
    Adrian Roman

    The article states “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.”

    I beg to differ.

    The recently launched second generation Dacia Logan and Sandero, even in poverty spec (at a cost of 6700 and 7000 Euros respectively here in Romania) have 4 airbags, ABS, ESP and EBD as standard. The 301 has the same, but its base price is some 3000 Euros higher. None has been put yet trough the Euro NCAP crash testing, so it’s a draw so far.

    The mid-spec Dacias have bluetooth, MP3 CD player and USB port – only the top spec 301 has them

    The top spec Dacia (which costs about as much as the base Peugeot 301) has a 7 inch touch screen media-nav system, as an option.

    All these intended “Dacia-beaters” (Peugeot 301, Citroen C-Elysee, Skoda Rapid, Seat Toledo) were designed against the decontented first gen Logan and Sandero. They knew they couldn’t beat Dacia on price, so they tried to beat it on content and safety. Guess what – the new gen Dacias have broadly the same content and safety features, but still at a lower price.

    • 0 avatar

      The Logan/Sandero/Duster are the elephants in the room. No one can touch them on price, and/or content. If you’re looking at this kind of car, you have to do yourself a favor and check out these cars. Even Renault got jealous and now will market in Europe the new Logan, although they’ll call it the Symbol (the new Symbol has nothing to do with the old Clio-based Symbol, it’s just an even more feature-laden Logan).

      Plus, they are fine to drive!

      • 0 avatar

        reading the article, it sounds like the 301 is priced just too high over the competition… and for my money the Duster beats it for value… its almost much uglier than the computer altered shots

        i really like the Duster… the faux 4wd setup really makes it as a ‘unique selling point’ for less that stellar market conditions

        sure it probably drives like a 1995 small SUV but this class seems to expect that

  • avatar

    “Both the 301 and its Citroen equivalent are unassuming but attractive cars – and they have more aspirational luster to them than Logans, Protons, or Tatas.

    In short, driving one of these, you don’t feel like a pauper, and you won’t be embarrassed if you could see yourself driving it. They’re just nice-looking little sedans.

    If there wasn’t already a Sonic sedan, I’d say Chevy could sell a version of it here ;)”

    Yeah, what he said…. :)

    I was going to post just the same thing. If Peugeot offered that car in Western Europe at Dacia prices, the success of this thing would be astounding.

    With the middle class slowly disappearing and the gap between rich and poor widening even in developed countries, such cars are the future on the global market.

  • avatar

    Maybe its more against the Renault Fluence or Fiat Linea than the Dacia. Its would be a brand suicide to make a half baked Logan fighter 6500 euro Peugeot.

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