PARIS -- Peugeot says the new 508 station wagon will set itself apart from competitors with a sporty stance and dynamic design. The company revealed photos of the new model, which will debut at the Paris auto show this year, with sales due to start at the end of the year.
The station wagon follows the redesigned 508 sedan, with fastback styling that Peugeot design director Gilles Vidal described as a "two-and-a-half box."
Like its fastback sibling, the 508 wagon will have frameless doors that will make access easier to compensate for the new model’s lower roofline.
The 508 is based on PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, which Peugeot says makes the car about 70 kg lighter than the previous generation. There will be five engine options offered initially: 180 hp and 225 hp 1.6-liter gasoline engines; a 130 hp 1.5-liter diesel; and 150 hp and 180 hp 2.0-liter diesels. A plug-in hybrid version will be available starting in the second half of 2019, with a battery-only range of 50 km (31 miles). The batteries will be placed under the second row of seats to preserve cargo space, Peugeot said.
The 508 competes in the mainstream midsize segment, which is under heavy sales pressure from SUVs and crossovers such as the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, the Peugeot 5008, which has been restyled as a crossover from a minivan, and the Skoda Kodiaq.
"SUVs are more or less as capable in terms of interior space, but look more appealing to consumers," said Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst with JATO Dynamics market researchers.
Despite declining sales, wagons are still important to volume automakers in Europe. They account for two-thirds of mainstream midsize car sales in Europe, Munoz said.
Sales of volume midsize wagons fell by 7 percent through April to 109,516, according to JATO. Registrations for the segment as a whole, including sedans and wagons, declined by 3 percent to 181,000, according to JATO. The mainstream midsize segment was outsold by premium midsize cars, which totaled 213,000 sales through April.
The Volkswagen Passat is the best-selling station wagon (see chart below)
Unit sales of Europe's top-selling mainstream wagons through April
1. Volkswagen Passat 46,081 +5%
2. Skoda Superb 16,951 -14%
3. Opel Insignia 13,046 +35%
4. Ford Mondeo 8,482 -25%
5. Toyota Avensis 5,090 -25%