While languishing in Europe, Peugeot-Citroen is going full throttle in China, set to open its third vehicle plant in Wuhan in July, two months before the scheduled date. Built jointly with its Chinese partner Dongfeng, the plant will add 300,000 units to the annual production capacity of DPCA (Dongfeng-Peugeot-Citroen). 2/3 of the new capacity will be equally assigned between the twin compacts: Peugeot 301 and Citroen C-Elysee. Both targeting emerging markets, they made their Chinese debut at the Shanghai auto show and will hit local showrooms in as early as September.
Sharing with the C-Elysee (as well as Peugeot 208, 2008) the PF1 platform, it has a 2650mm wheelbase, compared with the 2612mm on the 308, and is 4440mm long, 1748mm wide, and 1466mm tall. The suspension system employs MacPherson struts at the front and longitudinal trailing arms in the rear.
Upon release it will be propelled by a 1.6L MPI CVVT engine (EC5) that can deliver a maximum of 86kW of power and 150Nm of torque. Two gearbox choices will be provided: a 5MTand 4AT. After DPCA’s new engine plant opens in 2014, the 301/Elysee will get an additional motor option, a turbo 1.2 liter (1.2THP) of 100kW and 230Nm.
Standard features on all trim levels will include four airbags, ESP, auto A.C., blue-tooth, and rear parking sensors. Prices are projected to range between 80,000-110,000 Yuan.
Having the same wheelbase as the 301, C-Elysee is 4430mm long, 1700mm wide, and 1470mm tall. It is slightly larger than models of the current generation, which will remain in production after the release of the re-designed. In size it is almost indistinguishable from its arch-rivals–Volkswagen Santana and Jetta (called "the old three," Elysee together with the latter two used to dominate the Chinese auto market).
Although styled in a distinct Citroen way on the outside, the Elysee is truly a re-badged 301 regarding interior design, underpinnings, and powertrain. And yet it is likely to have a shorter list of standard features and thus be priced slightly lower.
In cities including Wuhan, a compressed natural gas (CNG) version will be made available to taxi companies.
Both targeting 100,000 annual sales in 2014 and 2015, Citroen C-Elysee is expected to deliver 25,000 units this year, and Peugeot 301 only 6,200.
Note: as we were unable to have a peek inside both cars in Shanghai, the photos of their interior are from last year’s Paris motor show.