PARIS - PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is attempting to make the Peugeot 206 a world car in the style of the Logan from rival Renault.
Both carmakers are or will produce and sell the cars in developing countries around the world. Volks-wagen has similar global aspirations for a large-sized affordable sedan code-named the 3-K Project.
Peugeot and Naza Corp., Malay-sia's No. 3 carmaker, will build a right-hand-drive 206 to be sold as a Naza in Malaysia and as a Peugeot in neighboring countries, Peugeot said.
That model will be a five-door version of the 206.
The two carmakers agreed in late June to start 206 production early next year at Naza's Gurun plant, in northwest Malaysia.
The move is part of a plan to turn the current-generation 206 into an inexpensive car for developing markets once it is replaced in western Europe next year by its successor, expected to be called the 207.
"By now, the 206 is largely amortized," Peugeot spokesman Christian Fabry said. "We can afford to use it as a vehicle to conquer new markets."
For years the No. 1 small-segment car in western Europe, the 206 appears destined to become Peugeot's best-selling car ever. Cumulative 206 production reached 5 million on May 23. The car is expected to beat the 5,378,000-unit record of its predecessor, the 205, by year-end.
With a price tag between E10,000 and E12,000, the Malaysian-built 206 won't be as economical as the Logan, which starts at about E6,000 in central Europe. PSA executives dismiss comparisons between the 206 and the Logan.
"The 206 meets all modern standards, whether in design or safety," Peugeot Managing Director Frederic Saint-Geours said when asked whether the 206 was PSA's answer to the Logan.
But Peugeot is following Renault's lead by building the car in many low-cost countries such as China and Malaysia, either directly or through local partnerships. In China, it plans to start building the 206 before the end of the year.
Fabry said that "Peugeot was thinking very hard" about making a three-box 206 sedan for markets that favor cars with a trunk. He did not elaborate.
Countries where customers prefer three-box cars include China and some South American markets such as Argentina, where the 206 hatchback already is built and sold.
Renault plans to build and sell the Logan in China by 2007 or 2008. The sedan already is being built in Romania and Russia and production started this month in Morocco. If approved by VW, the 3-K car could be launched in China by 2008.