Peugeot to re-launch hybrid strategy in fleet
31 October 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
Peugeot is to relaunch its 508 Hybrid4 saloon model and introduce a CO2 cut on the hybrid 3008 as it seeks to build sales for the diesel-electric models that it admits haven't yet sold in the volumes it had hoped.
Coming through before the end of the year, the 3008 Hybrid4 will drop to 99g/km or 91g/km thanks to aerodynamic and software changes, compared with the current 104g/km and 99g/km, depending on spec.
Meanwhile, the hybrid 508 saloon will receive new attention, having been the third in a trio of diesel-electric models launched in the first half of 2012.
"We'll relaunch as it kind of slipped out. It's a Mondeo-sized vehicle with 95g/km," said Peugeot fleet boss Phil Robson.
He said Peugeot has sold 800 hybrids so far this year, but that the technology has needed more of an education process than he had expected.
"I'm surprised how much people need the product explaining to them, how much we have to talk about and explain what a diesel hybrid is," he said.
The hybrids show a reverse effect compared to Peugeot's normal sales pattern, said Robson.
"With Peugeot, generally we have no problem getting vehicles on lists - we have to get people to drive it; but with diesel hybrids it's the other way around," he said.
"You have to pay more for them, so the biggest battle with diesel hybrids is getting on the list - with BIK it jumps off the page [once it's there]".
Although Robson said criticism regarding the fuel economy of hybrids comes more from the media than end users, the firm has invested in driver trainers to help maximise customer's efficiency.
"The hybrid fuel economy debate comes more from journalists - a fleet driver buys it for tax savings over fuel benefit," said Peugeot's fleet boss.
"But we do have some feedback; some of the issue is the way they do the official test, and some is how you drive the vehicle.
We have invested in professional drivers; we send them out to the fleet or retail customer to spend a couple of hours educating them how to drive the vehicle."
According to Robson, a quarter of the 3008 models being registered through leasing companies are the hybrid version, which he describes as "encouraging, but it's a slow burn."
"We're more successful in places with a BIK policy rather than a WLC one," he concluded. "It's easier with finance directors making the decisions - they see the tax position."
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