Sources say likely body styles include stationwagon and four-door sedan
Peugeot 307 to spawn models across brands Peugeot 307

ONE platform, many cars. This has increasingly been the mantra of car makers around the globe as the new economics of mega-mergers and shareholder value drive home the importance of cost efficiency.

France's PSA Peugeot-Citroen group is not exactly new to the philosophy, but will take it a step further this year. The largely family-controlled group's latest product - the Peugeot 307 hatchback - will spawn several products, some across brand names.

According to several sources, the next 307 body style to appear will be a stationwagon, scheduled to debut later this year. A four-door sedan, which will be more attractive to local buyers, may also be on the cards.

While Peugeot's management has been tight-lipped about future product plans, counterparts at Citroen have not.

The new strategy - honed into an art by Germany's Volkswagen Group - is aimed at maximising a single chassis to suit multiple customer profiles.

This means enhanced flexibility in designing alternative body styles while keeping production costs low.

In fact, the upcoming Citroen Xsara will share the same platform - internally named the No 2 platform - as the 307, although the Citroen will look like a totally different car if last year's Pluriel show car is anything to go by.

Citroen's quirky concept, based on this platform, was unveiled as a family compact, a cabriolet and a spider pick-up all rolled into one. So expect a compact convertible to be launched soon.

Because of the 307's deep, MPV-like windscreen, most observers are certain the new Peugeot will at least spawn a mini people-carrier, a la the Renault Scenic. If that happens, it will definitely be a runaway success because of the already efficient interior space utilisation seen in the hatchback.

And more engines will be introduced for the 307, including an interesting 2.7-litre V6 unit.

Peugeot expects to sell 300,000 units of the 307 this year, most of them in Europe, of course. The company says it sees Asia as a relatively stable market, with especially strong growth potential in China. It also expects strong growth for South-east Asian countries in the long term.

In Singapore, the Peugeot marque is getting good exposure from an aggressive TV ad campaign, resulting in brisk sales for the 206 five-door hatch and the 206 CC (coupe-cabriolet).

When local distributor Autofrance took over the franchise in June 2000, it had projected sales of 300 vehicles in the first 12 months.

According to general manager Say Kwee Neng: "We have exceeded our target for the first year of operation because the 206 has proven to be very popular, especially with young professionals."

Hopefully for Autofrance, the 307 will follow the same route.