PARIS - Peugeot's new 607 will move past General Motors' Opel/Vauxhall Omega to become Europe's top-selling executive car from a mainstream manufacturer in 2001, says Frederic Saint-Geours, PSA's executive vice president in charge of the Peugeot brand.
The 607 flagship sedan will have a high level of standard equipment and sell at a competitive price.
'There will be no basic, bottom-of-the-range version of the 607,' said Saint-Geours, at the car's international press launch here. 'By offering a generous level of standard equipment, we have managed to keep prices down.'
The 607, a classic three-box sedan, will go on sale in March 2000. Standard equipment includes antilock brakes; electronic stability control; front, rear and curtain airbags; electronic heavy-braking assistance; flat-tire detection; automatic air conditioning; alloy wheels; and VDO Philips navigation system.
'The 607 is more beautiful than the Omega - and if you are not touched by its looks, then you will be touched by its value,' said Saint-Geours.
Christian Priser, head of large car production, said Peugeot had used German cars as models for the 605. 'This time we did not follow them. We decided to forget the Germans, and do a car that stood out in the sector,' he said.
In France, 607 prices will start at FF187,500 (euro 28,595) for the model with a 2.2-liter, 16-valve gasoline engine and manual gearbox. The 3.0-liter V-6 version with automatic gearbox will cost FF281,000. A comparable Renault Safrane 3.0-liter V-6 Initiale with automatic gearbox retails at FF306,000.
Buyers can specify an even higher level of equipment. The 'Pack' option includes a compact disc sound system; electric seats with position memory; leather trim; and soundproofed rear windows. The 'Pack' option costs an extra FF29,500.
Saint-Geours is targeting annual worldwide sales of 45,000 units for the 607 by 2001. That includes 20,000 in France, 20,000 in other western European countries, and 5,000 elsewhere. In Europe, the main markets will be Germany and the UK. Saint-Geours said the two countries together should account for 12,000 sales a year by 2001.
Diesel versions are expected to make up 60 percent of the mix in France, and 40 percent across Europe, according to Bruno de Guibert, Peugeot's vice president for product planning.
The 607 initially will be equipped with PSA's 2.2-liter direct injection HDI unit. De Guibert said the V-6 diesel, which will be developed in cooperation with Ford, could appear in the 607 between 2003 and 2004.
The 607 will first go on sale in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Austria and Netherlands will follow in April 2000; Scandinavia and Greece in May; and the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal in June. Italy will wait until September, and Germany until October.