PEUGEOT AIMS for a piece of Europe's coupe market with the launch of the 406 coupe this month. Its main target is Germany, where Peugeot is pricing the car aggressively.
The coupe was designed by Pininfarina and is being built at the Italian coachbuilder's plant in Turin.
Pininfarina has been ramping up steadily since March. Output has risen from 32 cars a day to the planned level of 60.
The 406 coupe will be available in France in mid-May and in Italy later in the month. Coupes arrive in Belgium and the Netherlands in June.
Austria, Switzerland and Germany will be added in July. The UK will receive supplies in mid-July, in time for the August new-registration sales boom.
Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain and other countries will have 406 coupes by September.
German dealers have already ordered 800 cars. Germany and the UK are expected to be the biggest markets. These countries took the largest share of the 120,000 big coupes sold in Europe in 1996, said Peugeot.
'Germany could take up to one third of the total annual volume,' said a spokesman.
In Germany the entry-level, 2.0-liter version will sell for DM45,000 ($25,980). Sources said the same car would cost around FF170,000 ($29,300) in France.
The top 3.0-liter, V-6 version, complete with luxury pack, is expected to retail at FF235,000.
In the UK, the 2.0-liter car is priced at £19,480 ($31,600), the 3.0-liter version at £22,980 and the 3.0-liter luxury pack version at £25,780.
Output is expected to be 12,000 units a year.
Pininfarina said this could be stretched to 15,000 units. Initial production will be split 60-40 in favor of the four-cylinder version. Markets such as Germany are expected to take more V-6 versions.
Peugeot has not offered a coupe in the class since the 504 coupe that was launched in 1969. The most direct competitor is expected to be the two-door version of the BMW 3 series.