Chasing Cars has spotted the new 2017 Peugeot 3008 in Sydney, ahead of the medium SUV’s third-quarter Australian launch. We caught the right-hand-drive Amazonite Grey 3008 GT near Peugeot’s local distributor Sime Darby’s headquarters, indicating that preparations for the car’s as-yet-unannounced local launch are underway.
The new 3008 is Peugeot’s most significant new car for Australia in at least a decade. After posting increasingly grim sales numbers in recent years, the 3008 is the car that Peugeot hopes will restore sustainable demand locally. With a swag of international accolades under its belt, we believe that the 3008 could achieve such a result – but this will only be achieved with adequate marketing resources.
Sime Darby Motor Group, who distribute Peugeot and Citroen cars in Australia, have hinted at a September launch for the 3008 – a critical model for the Peugeot brand in the Australian market, where demand for SUV continues to grow unabated. The 3008 will compete with medium SUV favourites, including the Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5.
The 3008, which debuted more than a year ago in European markets, has been lauded by the European motoring press as among the best in the medium SUV segment, winning a number of individual publication awards and the coveted European Car of the Year industry award.
Why the 3008 is critical for Peugeot
It’s no secret that Peugeot needs a winner in Australia, and soon – and the new 3008 is Peugeot’s best bet. Local Peugeot sales have fallen dramatically in the past decade; in 2007, more than eight thousand Peugeots found homes, but by 2016, this had dropped to just 3,129 sales – a 65% decline in ten years.
In an effort to move stock, Peugeot have adopted an impressive eight-year warranty – a temporary move that Sime Darby are pushing to make permanent. If sales fall further, Sime Darby’s distributorship and the future of Peugeot and Citroen in Australia will be in doubt.
Peugeot’s imminent need for the 3008 makes the decision to defer the car’s Australian launch until September all the more perplexing. By September, it will have been 18 months since the 3008 debuted overseas, and the new CX-5 and new Tiguan will be even more established than they are now. However, it will likely be a case of better late than never.
Our predictions for the Australian 3008 range
We predict the 3008 will be offered here in similar specifications to the 308 hatchback and smaller 2008 SUV. The Australian 3008 range will likely consist of four models: an entry-level Active, mid-spec Allure, higher-end GT Line and a flagship 3008 GT.
A number of three- and four-cylinder engines are offered in the 3008 overseas, and we can make educated guesses as to which powerplants Peugeot will take here. Peugeot’s recently-adopted Aisin six-speed automatic is likely to be the sole gearbox for Australia. A manual is unlikely, which rules out a number of engine options.
Lower-end 3008s will likely use a version of the 1.2-litre turbo three-cylinder petrol which has received local praise, especially for its application in the compact 2008 SUV. In the 2008 it makes 81kW but the 3008 will receive the uprated 100kW version.
From there, Sime Darby will likely specify mid-level 3008s with a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol producing about 125kW. A 1.6-litre diesel is available, but the automatic version produces just 91kW and thus is unlikely for Australia.
The flagship 3008 GT will be diesel-powered, though, making 133kW from its 2.0-litre BlueHDi mill – placing the GT in square competition with the Tiguan’s 140kW TDI engine and the Mazda’s 129kW diesel CX-5.
Interestingly, the 3008 is front-wheel-drive only with no all-wheel-drive offering.
Inside, the 3008 builds on the theme of the 208, 2008 and 308 cabins – there’s still high-set instruments and a compact steering wheel, but the 3008 makes substantial technological gains. The 3008 introduces a new generation of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit concept, which now includes a fully digital driver’s display which can display navigation maps – which should be standard across the range. Volkswagen builds a similar system called Active Info Display – though in Tiguan it is a costly option.
Further afield in the cabin, a floating infotainment screen sits atop a dash which wraps around the driver. Materials around the cabin appear to be high-quality – a mix of soft-touch plastics, suede, and even felt-like material feature on the dashboard.
Peugeot has to get this one right in Australia
The 3008 represents the best opportunity in some years for Peugeot in Australia, with a car that may be best-in-class arriving in the extremely high-volume medium SUV segment. With a range of international accolades behind it, the 3008 arrives with plenty of useful ammunition to be marketed to Tiguan, CX-5 and Tucson buyers – but Sime Darby will need to ensure the message gets across. If the 3008 fails to make an impact, the consequences for the Peugeot brand will be significant.
But the potential of the 3008 will be squandered if it is launched too late – or with an inadequate marketing budget. We believe the new 3008 has the chance to replicate its best years in Australia – in 2007, over four thousand 307s were sold in Australia. Then, the 307 was the right-sized car at the right time – that can be true of the 3008 in 2017.
The stakes for Peugeot – and for Sime Darby’s contract – are high. With a potential best-in-class SUV on their hands, we hope – for the sake of the Australian buying public – the brand gets the local market launch of this car right.
An editorial by the Chasing Cars team.