Archive for peugeot

Compressed air hybrid

Posted in Alt-Fuel, Car conception, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , on 28/01/2013 by Alexander

hybrid-air-1PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s fortunes have been dismal lately. They’ve posted one of the biggest losses of European car makers for 2012, and continue with alarming operating costs on a daily basis. This makes me very worried, because I’m a big Citroen fan, and I hate seeing them this way. However, PSA has recently announced a new type of hybrid system for their smaller cars,developed in conjunction with Bosch, that uses cylinders of compressed air instead of batteries. You can see a video of it here. The main aim of the system is for city driving, which as we know, is by far the most fuel-consuming part of a car’s use (unless you’re one of those lead.footed wankers). PSA say the compressed air will account “60 to 80 per cent of the time in city driving,”, and improve fuel efficiency by some 45% and range by 90%.

The system adds about 100kg to the weight of a traditional ICE powered small car, which is around half that of a conventional hybrid system. PSA claims it uses very simple, serviceable parts, with no rare metals like lithium-ion. The goal is to develop a ‘global’ system that’s cheaper than existing hybrids to appeal to China and Russia as much as European markets.

This is definitely an excellent idea, and any and every possible technological path that leads to lower fuel consumption must be explored. The problem is the release date: 2016. That’s very far down the line. Both PSA and the world at large need this sort of tech in showroons yesterday.


The demise of the European car market

Posted in General opinions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16/10/2012 by Alexander

Europe’s worsening economic situation is reflected by many things: unemployment, social unrest, tight national budgets and so on. Because this is a car blog, what matters here are new car sales, and this year they’ve been appallingly low. All the big European car manufacturers are posting record dips in sales, except for one: BMW, who have seen a 10% increase in cars coming out of their showrooms.

Renault have sold a staggering 29% less, Fiat are 19% down, Volvo slumped 17%, General Motors and Ford lost around 15%, and curiously, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, a group in the news lately for their poor financial performance and their dubious alliance with GM, lost just over 8%, practically the same as that of the VAG group of brands owned by Volkswagen. Daimler-Benz, of which Mercedes is a part of, saw nearly a 7% loss, most of which can be attributed to the slump of Smart.

In the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association report, the reader can note an odd tendency: there’s a tendency for European-based manufacturers of more affordable cars such as superminis and family hatchbacks to have registered a heavy loss (GM and Ford may be American, but their European models are conceived and built here). On the other hand, Audi was up 1.4%, Jaguar Land Rover rose a staggering 13.2%, and as mentioned, BMW got an extra 10.5%. Really shows who’s suffering and who’s benefiting from the current recession!

In the long term, I’m worried this could mean Europe’s non-German car-makers disappearing altogether. It doesn’t seem to matter how well traditionally widespread brands like Fiat and Renault make their cars, they just can’t compete with the badge-conscious, overpriced German offerings. If these sorts of brands go under, anyone who wants a frugal small car will either have to buy a bland Japanese vehicle or a Volkswagen in one of its guises (Seat, Skoda, etc.). Or we could see a BMW-owned Citroen for example, since the only real small car the Bavarians make is the Mini and all of its bastard sprogs.

Either way, dark days are ahead for everyone on the Old Continent.

Volvo and PSA looking for partners

Posted in General opinions with tags , , , , , on 25/01/2012 by Alexander

Volvo is looking for a partner to develop small cars. PSA Peugeot/Citroen are open to an alliance with another car maker.

Can anyone guess what I’m hinting at here?

Many carmakers aren’t interested in having dealings with Volvo, because it’s owned by the Chinese. Citroen however, is betting heavily on the Chinese market, with models developed exclusively for China. Volvo would benefit from Peugeot and Citroen’s expertise and platforms in the small car arena (even though the French brands’ legendary cars are large things like the 504, the CX and the DS, what they’re really good at is selling 206’s and Saxos and such), while the French would be able to use Volvo’s higher-end platforms and delve into more premium segments. Well, I’m no market analyst or such, but hey, this is what blogs are for, to spout out prattle to anyone who reads it, even if it makes no sense to the experts.

Peugeot 608?

Posted in Desirable machines, Upcoming cars with tags , , on 06/12/2011 by Alexander

I got this splash from the French AutoJournal magazine’s website: I couldn’t believe my eyes. A Peugeot that looks phenomenal, from front to back. The RCZ is a cool car, but somewhat ruined by the ugly stretched face as I’ve pointed out before. This 608, if it turns out to look like this, will be a pleasure to look at, especially in contrast to its hideous predecessor, the 607.

However, will it sell? The Citroen C6 is iconically beautiful, and has garnered praise for its looks and and comfort, and excels in these respects the German offerings. However, its sales are dreadful, as car-makers simply can’t pry customers away from the Audi/BMW/Mercedes badge-snobbery that runs so deep among motorists with enough cash to afford a car in this segment of the market. That said, however, this 608 certainly looks more consensual than the extravagant C6.

I’ve always been one to root for the underdog, and also for what’s different and sets itself aside from the dominant norm. So if this Pug lives up to the dazzling aspect it has in the above picture, I wish it success.

2010 is gone. Welcome 2011

Posted in Alt-Fuel, Crap cars, Desirable machines, General opinions, Green Tech, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , , , on 03/01/2011 by Alexander

2010 was another automotive year with all the usual ups and downs, and there was nothing Earth-shaking about it. But there were some moments worth remembering:

Top 5 good things from 2010:

  • The spread of green technology
    Until recently, either having a hybrid or running your diesel on vegetable oil were the only ways to be green (driving a GPL car has been for yonks, but let’s not delve into that right now). This year saw the significant spread of cleaner engine technology, with more brands churning out more efficient engines, like PSA’s e-HDi or Fiat’s Twin-Air. It saw the introduction of all-electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and Renault’s ZE cars. Even Porsche and other traditionally anti-eco brands dreamed up their own hybrid concepts. We’re on the right track.
  • Formula 1 goes barebones
    I’ve never been one to talk about Formula 1, because it’s been a sport for the likes of Ferrari and big engine-producing to show off their crap. But no more. Next year sees the goodbye of the 2.4-litre V8 engine, and the exclusive use of 1.6l turbo flat fours. This will attract more car manufacturers and bring Formula 1 closer to what it should be: a laboratory for car-makers to test solutions in extreme conditions. With this, the solutions they’ll have to dream up for F1 cars will be more easily transposed to the cars you and me buy. That’ll mean more power and efficiency from piddly little four-cylinder power-plants. Ferrari are really pissed off by this, because they don’t use straight-fours in their road-going ostentation-mobiles, and are refusing to use them. Good riddance, shit-heads.
  • Cars keep getting nicer
    Unfortunately, the world’s recession stems from people living beyond their means, and that includes buying too many new cars. Here in Portugal, it’s heinous. Everyone complains how deep in the shit they are, but 2010 was unprecedented in terms of car sales. The upshot is that the automotive market is battling it out to make the best cars they can to attract the expanding market. Cars keep getting safer, better equipped, technologically more advanced, and even cheaper cars look nicer and nicer, as opposed to looking like coloured washing machines that they used to up until the mid-2000’s. Just sitting in recent cars makes me gawp, due to the simple fact that interiors just keep improving. A modern day supermini is just as nice to sit in as top-of-the-range four-doors of 20-odd years ago.
  • Volvo S60
    The coolest release of the year, topping the Peugeot RC Z, the Honda CR-Z and the Citroen DS3. The shape, the look, the gorgeous interior and instrument panel… wow.
  • Hummer went belly up
    Need I say more?

Top 5 let-downs of 2010:

  • The Peugeot 508
    Early in the year Peugeot treated us to two exciting new concept cars: the SR-1 and the RC Hybrid4. The former was a mouth-watering coupé and the latter seemed to show what the 407’s successor would look like. Instead of that, we got a knock-off of the Renault Fluence.
  • Citroen
    The 2000’s saw a spectacular return to form for Citroen. The C3 Pluriel, the C4, the C5 II and the glorious C6. This year, they decided to be run by the corporate morons and killed off the lovely C3 Pluriel, and introduced stuff like the Metropolis and the new C4, which both look like they were plagiarised from Audi. Awful.
  • Toyota
    I think the recalls speak for themselves. Never did I think to see this Japanese behemoth of reliability and sense be so mired by crass mistakes such as these. Amazing.
  • Fisker
    I was hoping to see the absolutely luscious Karma showing off its lines live in the metal and setting new automotive standards at the same time. Alas, ’twas not to be, with Fisker pushing its delivery dates further and further…
  • Ferrari 458
    “You-a-drive it, it-a-catches de fire!” The menstruation-coloured prancing hossie from Italy finally made a car that didn’t look crap for a “supercar”. Downside is, it goes up in flames of its own accord.

Amazing! Upcoming Peugeots may not be crap

Posted in Crap cars, Desirable machines, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 25/11/2009 by Alexander

After slagging off Peugeot, and especially the 3008 quite ruthlessly, here’s an entry to prove I’m not a mindless Peugeot hater. The above image came from here, and the fanfair is grand.

Take a look at Peugeot’s new baby coupé! Auto Express has learned that the Lion is getting ready to roar into the small sports car market with this sensational 2+2, which boasts Ferrari style at an affordable price tag.

Phwoar! A insy-bitsy Ferrari! I’m being a little sarky, but let’s be honest: it looks good. Gone are the ridiculous Peugeot grills and exaggeratedly swept-back headlamps. This seems promising! Let’s read on:

Small coupés are big news! You don’t need big engines and a huge price tag to have fun, which is why pint-sized sports cars are making a comeback.

And we’re then treated to a list of future coupés that fill the above criteria, which stupidly include a MINI Coupé (a stupid concept, since the MINI is already coupé-ish, and if you look at the pictures it resembles a MINI that’s previously had cartload of bricks tipped on it) and a Toyota Prius Coupé (?!?!?? I thought a criterion was it had to be fun and pint-sized? How can a bloated, soulless object like a Prius ever be either?).

But is the news of this Peugeot coupé too good to be true? Yes. Sifting through the comments, an interesting datum popped up. The Hyundai Veloster Coupé concept looks suspiciously similar. In fact, it’s obvious this Peugeot coupé was Photoshopped from the Hyundai, which gives us two possibilities; either Peugeot is teaming up with Hyundai to give us a common platform car; or the most certain, AutoExpress has been duped. Besides, after the announcement of the 308 RC Z, it would be stupid for Peugeot to compete with itself before the 308 RC Z was even available.

But fear not! If you, for some unfathomable, irrational, bile-swelling reason have a fancy for the Lion brand, Peugeot have decided to make a car that, at first glance doesn’t completely suck.

Dubbed the 508, it marks the return of the “5” at the beginning of the designation, and harks back to my personal Peugeot favourite, the 504. It’s based on the RC HyMotion 4 concept of 2008, which shows Peugeot at least manages to make good use of its nicer concepts, unlike, say, Citroën, who ignore the C-Airplay. But I digress. This 508 car looks crackingly good, and not just for a Peugeot. It reminds me of an old Bugatti four door saloon, the EB112, which never saw the light of day. It has the same sort of profile and fundamental concept.

In conclusion, it’s a sign that upcoming Peugeots may not be dreary crap after all.

Peugeot 308 RC Z

Posted in Crap cars, Desirable machines, News with tags , , , , on 06/09/2009 by Alexander

Peugeot and Citroen are part of the same company, the PSA Group, after Citroen went bankrupt for the second time in 1974 and was absorbed into their rival company. Many blame this as the turning point for Citroen, seeing an end to the innovative flair that had characterized their cars and made so many of them undisputed cult icons and legends. Peugeot, on the other hand, have no legendary cars whatsoever. The 504 and 504 coupé are very nice machines, and rank among my personal favourites, but they can’t stack up to an SM or CX, let alone a Traction Avant or a DS. VW have the Beetle and the Transporter, BMW have the Isetta, Mercedes have their 220’s and SL Gullwing, Datsun/Nissan have the Z-cars, Fiat have the 500 and 600, even Renault have the 4 and 5 to be glowingly proud of. So that gives Peugeot some catching up to do, and it seems they plan on starting right now at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

So while Fiat have the new 500 and BMW have the new Mini, Peugeot give the world the 308 RC Z coupé. Since they don’t have a prestigious, iconic model to base it on, they make it a version of one of their current, horribly bland (if not absolutely hideous) production model, the 308.

However, I predict this car to be a runaway success, and will pluck a lot of customers out of the Audi TT’s and BMW Z4’s hands, not to mention other coupés. The front end looks awful, being what characterizes Peugeot’s current aesthetics, perhaps thought up by someone who was partially blind and suffers from brain damage. But the rest is stunningly attractive. The car’s outline is fantastically proportioned, making it look balanced yet fast while standing still, unlike its pretty crappy-looking German rivals. Another design detail sure to make people swoon are the bubble-like protrusions in the canopy, which looks like it’s off a high-end supercar. The berlinetta-like rear-end looks amazing too, though those rear lights look suspiciously similar to those on a Nissan 350Z. The curve at the end of the doors is also a delicious detail.

What I don’t fancy, apart from the aforementioned facial section, are the wing-mirrors. Lots of Citroen’s latest models also suffer from this ailment, which is wing-mirrors that look like antennae. They look dumb. And wing-mirrors are an important design detail for me. I think my Volvo S60 is one of the best looking cars on the road today, but if it had the wing-mirrors of the post-2004 models, I wouldn’t like it.

Would I buy one? Hmmm. If I were looking for a coupé, perhaps this would be my choice, though that snout and the fact that it’s a Peugeot would make me think twice.

So here’s my prediciton for the 308 RC Z: Runaway success.