Peugeot gives new 308 plug-in hybrid options to challenge VW Golf

Entrants in the volume compact segment, the third-largest in Europe after small cars and small SUVs/crossovers, are electrifying in various ways to meet increasingly stringent CO2 emissions standards. The Golf is available with two levels of plug-in hybrid power, 204 hp (e-hybrid) and 245 hp (GTE) as well as a 48-volt mild hybrid. It has 80 km electric-only range.

Other choices in the segment include the Ford Focus, with a 48-volt mild hybrid option; the Toyota Corolla is available as a full hybrid; and the Toyota Prius is available in both full-hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations. The Renault Megane has a plug-in hybrid option. 

Another key challenger is the VW ID3 full-electric hatchback, which accounted for 26,987 sales in December, making it the second-best selling model in Europe during the month behind the Golf, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. The Citroen C4 is also available with a full-electric drivetrain.

The 308 ranked sixth in the compact segment in 2020 with 89,644 sales in Europe, according to JATO Dynamics. The Golf was the overall segment leader, with 283,651 sales in 2020, a 31 percent decrease from 2019. It was trailed by the Skoda Octavia (181,039 sales), Ford Focus (172,565) and Toyota Corolla (136,911). 

Segment sales overall were 1,723,367, a 22 percent decline. Compacts were narrowly overtaken by small SUVs/crossovers, which registered 1,725,984 sales in 2020, an 18 percent decline. 

The Kia Niro is the leader among plug-in hybrid compacts in Europe, with 17,840 sales in 2020, a 45 percent increase from 2019, according to JATO. The Golf GTE finished second, with 15,468 sales (just 985 were sold in 2019, its first year on the market). The Hyundai Ioniq was third, with 9,605 sales. New plug-in hybrid compact entrants in 2020 include the Seat Leon, Kia Ceed and XCeed, the Octavia and Megane.    

The new 308 will be built at Stellantis’ factory in Mulhouse, eastern France. The automaker spent about 125 million euros to prepare for start of production as part of a larger investment in the plant, which also builds the DS 7 Crossback compact SUV and Peugeot 508 midsize hatchback and station wagon. Those models are also built on the EMP2 platform.

The 308 is expected to get a sibling model from Opel/Vauxhall when the new-generation Astra is revealed around the middle of this year.

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