New Peugeot 301 gets four doors

New Peugeot 301 gets four doors
Is Peugeot starting from scratch again?

If you are referring to the badge, then it's more or less yes. You see, Peugeot is employing a new numerical strategy for its cars from this year.

The first digit indicates the model (A, B, C or D segment, for instance), the middle one the body type (0 for saloon or hatch and 00 for SUV or MPV) and the last the sophistication (1 for utter value for money and 8 for a combination of value and status, as well).

Models currently running the number 7 (107 as such) will eventually wear 8. And they will be fixed from now on, even when all-new replacements emerge.

Interior can be appointed with lavish trim.

So the 301 is meant for Thailand?

Yes, as our country would fall into that category with number 1, but we can also get Puggs with badges ending with 8.

When the 301 is coming to Thailand is another thing. Before that happens, the 301 will have to make its bow first at September's Paris motor show before going on sale in international markets. Peugeot hopes the 301 will eventually become the brand's top-selling car.

In which sector does it compete?

Peugeot says the 301 (the last time this badge was used was from 1932-36) is a compact four-door saloon with a 4.44m length and 2.65m wheelbase. In essence, that's nearly a C-segment car contending against the likes of the Corolla.

But it gets a little confusing from here, because Peugeot says the 301 has "generous structure to put it ahead of its competition".

In this sense then, the 301 has been tailored as sub-compact/B-segment saloon with dimensions to boast.
Remember the 408 that was launched at the Bangkok motor show earlier this year? It's sized slightly bigger than a Corolla but is based on the 308 C-segment hatchback.

The 301 would also leave the 207 saloon (rivalling B-cars like the Vios) in an awkward position in Thai showrooms, unless the 301 would eventually form the replacement for the 207 saloon.

Hmm, what about the 301's engines?

Peugeot has announced engines ranging from a 71hp 1.2-litre to 122hp 1.6-litre, either of which can be had with an automatic transmission.

This engine range really suits B-segment cars, so the 301 could be pitched as a car sitting in between a Vios and Corolla _ like how Nissan unsuccessfully did with the Tiida Latio in Thailand.

It does have some semblance to an Ecocar...

Yeah, that 1.2-litre fits the Ecocar bill in Thailand. But it's very doubtful that Peugeot would be able to dip low in the 500,000 baht range.

The French are already suffering from pricing problems with their 207 and 408 due to a lack of intense industrialisation in this region. And to top it all, Peugeot hasn't applied for Ecocar tax privileges.

And if you look at the picture of the 301's interior, it has some very nice-feeling materials that would definitely push the car's costs up. Because of that, the lowest the 301 can go down in the Thai market is where the Honda City and Toyota Vios exist.

Is the 301 pointing to a Mirage saloon?

That's quite a good question because Peugeot (and its sister brand Citroen) shares technologies with Mitsubishi in several model ranges.

Of course, the 301 won't be giving any styling clues to the Mitsubishi Mirage saloon (only a five-door hatch is available so far). But the 301 shows that such an engine size can be fitted into a four-door Mirage.
Hey, if Nissan can fit a similarly sized motor into the extra-long Almera saloon, then there should be no problem with Mitsubishi doing the same with its pending Mirage sedan.

New Peugeot 301 gets four doors
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