Saturday, 26 May 2012

Peugeot's 'global' sedan 301 coming to India soon

The freshly unveiled 301 is all set to be Peugeot's 'global' sedan and is eyeing for an India debut by the end of next year 

It is undeniable that India is emerging as a strong upcoming market for automobiles. One just has to look at the trends over the last few years to see just how many international car makers have decided to set up shop out here.

German, American, Japanese and Korean auto giants have all enjoyed great success in India, and last year it was one more French company, in the form of Peugeot, which also announced its future plans for the country.

Now Peugeot isn't entirely alien to India, but it's been almost 15 years since the company ceased production of the 309 sedan here. 

But that being said, this continental car maker currently has one of the best portfolios for an emerging auto market such as India.

The plethora of sensible (and stylish at that) hatchbacks and practical people carriers that Peugeot offers should be quite well received in the country. And let's not forget the company's elegant sedan offerings, which should woo buyers here as well. 
So taking a top-down approach, the first car to hit Indian roads with the heraldic lion badge is set to set the luxurious 508 sedan, which will be brought here through the CBU (completely built unit) route. 

Now though, Peugeot has just taken the wraps off a new 'global' sedan, which the company has specially designed for emerging markets. This notchback sedan in particular, dubbed as the 301, is set for its official world debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in September this year, and would be following the 508 to India, albeit this car would actually be manufactured here. 

The 301 has been specifically developed keeping in mind the needs of emerging markets such as Russia, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and should be well suited for a wide variety of operating conditions, which include extreme temperatures as well as less than ideal road conditions.

This 4,440mm long sedan boasts exceptional rear leg room, thanks to its 2,650mm wheelbase and, at 506 litres, also features rather generous boot space. Safety wise, the 301 can be configured with all the latest safety features, such as ESP, ABS, up to 4 airbags and emergency brake assist, depending on the market.

So far, Peugeot has announced three different engine options for the 301, which include a 3-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine making 72PS of power, a 1.6-litre diesel motor with 92PS and a range-topping 1.6-litre petrol unit with 115PS of power on tap which also offers an automatic gearbox option.

Given the size of the car, it is likely that both the 1.6 litre mills would be the ones offered in India, and Peugeot might just keep the smaller engine to avail excise benefits on one of its hatchback offerings which might make its way to our shores later. 

The Peugeot 301 has already started production in Spain and will be first launched in Turkey in November this year. As for India, no official statement has been issued, but word has it that production will commence at the Sanand, Gujarat plant by the end of 2013.

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