French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A., which has struggled to sell cars in Europe, will introduce a version of its popular 408 sedan in Russia this year, according to reports published Tuesday.
Peugeot, whose weak European sales have led it recently into a partnership with General Motors Co., will introduce a version of its 408 sedan in Russia beginning in September, Left Lane News said Tuesday. The company already sells versions of the 408 in Latin America and China.
The new initiative follows several years of developing Peugeot's Russian business. In 2008, Peugeot created its Russian subsidiary, Peugeot Citroën Rus, and began building a factory at Kaluga the same year. The first Russian-made Peugeots and Citroëns rolled off the assembly lines in 2010.
Since then, Peugeot has been focusing heavily on developing its Russian market share, and plans to reach 115,000 cars annually at its Kaluga plant this year. In the first half of 2011, Peugeot increased its Russian sales by 69.1 percent and reached a market share of 2.7 percent. Peugeot expects to increase Russian sales by 5 percent in 2012.
The company aims to achieve its Russian sales goals by introducing a version of its 408 sedan, which is based on the Peugeot 308 hatchback and debuted in China in 2010. However, the Russian 408 will not be identical to the Chinese 408, as Peugeot has recently completed a pilot program and made technical modifications to the cars to make them more appealing to Russians.
The development of the Russian Peugeot 408 included testing in the Ural Mountains and at locations to north of the Arctic circle, according to Left Lane News, so that the Russian version would do well in cold weather.
The Peugeot 408 is expected to be officially revealed at the Moscow Motor Show in September, Left Lane News said.