President's Report - October 2002
Having just returned from two weeks in the outback of Western Australia, I am still suffering pug-withdrawal symptoms. Outside of Perth the only pug I sighted was a 406 wagon on the highway about 300 km north of Perth. For my trip I rented two Toyota Corollas in Perth. Why two? Because some dumb bunny ran into the back of me at a give way sign, which necessitated a change of vehicle before I had even left Perth. For the rest of the trip my shiny bright red Corolla hatch certainly stood out in the crowd of mostly white four wheel drives in some of the out-of-the-way places I went. For example, when I pulled up outside the main office at the Bronzewing gold mine, about 600 km NE of Perth, the blokes out the front said, "Are you lost mate? We don't get many tourists up here!" (I should explain that the mine is about 70 km up a private, unsealed road, and unauthorised visitors are usually scared off long before they get anywhere near the mine).
Great news after the recent Rally of New Zealand: as expected Peugeot has wrapped up both the drivers and manufacturers championships with two rounds of the World Rally Championship still to go. Congratulations to Marcus Gronholm and the Peugeot rally team. With the Citroen team looking promising at times this season, next year could be a real French bun-fight! Melrose Peugeot advise they are still planning to hold the spare parts sale that I mentioned last month. It's taking longer than expected to organise, but rest assured the club will be given first bite of the cherry. Further details as they come to hand. Other news from Melrose concerns new models to be available in Australia next year, including the 307CC and the 206RC (the new GTI). Both cars look stunning in the brochures I have seen.
This month's meeting at the Italo-Australian Club is the Annual General Meeting, with guest speakers Bill McNamee and Geraldine Butler to entertain us with a commentary on their recent, extended European trip. It should be a great evening, including supper at the conclusion. Hope to see you there!..
Keep on Pugging,
Why MPs Need Life Experience
Ronan Lee - a fresh faced broth of a boy from Erin's Isle and the Labor Member for Indooroopilly in the Queensland Parliament since last year - has come to the Lioniser's attention as a perfect example of why it's best that prospective parliamentarians get some experience in life before they put themselves forward. Young Ronan didn't own a car before his election, but since then he's wisely invested in a zippy little Peugeot 206 to get around his constituency. At a recent function, however, he had to approach another attendee and ask if he knew anything about cars as his had stopped. The gentleman, a Mercedes driver, was happy to help. The pair went off to examine the young MP's conveyance - only to discover the problem was simple. Faith and begob, he'd run out of petrol. From www.crikey.com.au.
Peugeot Sales Take Off
Peugeot Australia has hit its straps with sales up 85% for the year to date and an impressive rollout of new cars next year. With the 307 and 206 forming the bulk of buyer interest, the company will broaden their ranges and sell a hotter 134kW 2.0-litre 206 GTi, 206SW station wagon, 307SW and 307CC cabrio from next year. The 307CC makes it debut at the Paris motor show next week, along with the 206GTi180, Sesame people mover concept and a hybrid car called H20. The new GTi180 has a heavily modified front and rear suspension and stiffer springs as well as an electronic stability program. Pricing is expected to be about $35,000. The 307CC adopts a similar design theme to the 206CC with folding metal roof.
The French car makers overall are bringing home the bacon with their current focus on the Australian market. Peugeot expects to sell 6500 cars in Australia in 2002, having reached 5000 already this year. Citroen expect to sell 1900, which is double last years sales figures, and Renault expects to reach 5000 sales this year. The best part is, 206 sales in Australia have outstripped their traditional rival in the hot hatch market, the VW Golf. What more can one say?