Peugeot to expand into new segments, U.S. return on the cards

Peugeot will focus on emerging markets and expanding its model range to cultivate its desired goal of selling more than two million vehicles worldwide per year by the end of the decade. While a return to the U.S. market is also a possibility, the French carmaker will grow in emerging markets such as China, South America and Russia to help boost sales.

In terms of expanding its model range, Peugeot is eager to cover over 90% of automotive segments, where currently it only provides products for «72% of the segments,» its CEO Jean-Phillipe Collin explained to Automotive News. «If the current sales trend in Europe continues, we will achieve that,» he said.

Peugeot currently offers a range of compact and fuel-efficient models and dominates many of the segments that are seeing the biggest growth levels. To capitalize on that demand, Peugeot plans to introduce a several new models and technologies in coming years.

These include a new flagship coupe in the not too distant future – the production version of the RC Z (pictured) – but more immediately a minivan and a compact SUV are planned for the second half of 2009. In a somewhat mysterious statement, Collin also stated that Peugeot will be developing a new sedan that «could be something different from what people imagine to be a sedan today.»

In addition to this a new hybrid diesel engine will go into Peugeot products to appeal to increasingly fuel-conscious buyers. The carmaker signed an agreement with the French government earlier this year to secure funding for the development of the advanced powertrain, and confirmed that the first models would be released around 2011.

During his interview, Collin also revealed that a return to the U.S. market is conceivable. «We are not ruling out going back to the U.S.,» he said. «We are closely watching the opportunities resulting from the crisis in North America.» However, he reaffirmed that emerging markets are the top priority and that even a decision on a U.S. return is still several years away.

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