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Peugeot 207 - part 3

Broadcast date : 25th June 2006


After the tranquility of the L Advneutre, Peugeot and its rural setting in Sochaux, it was back to the outskirts of Paris and the hard-edged manufacturing plant at Poissy to witness 207 production in earnest.

The 207 has quite a reputation to live up to, as the 206 was highly rated as a small hatch with lots of style and youth appeal. The new profile is interesting with its prominent tail-light bulge.

A visit to a state-of-the-art factory like Poissy is a fascinating experience, not least because of the high degree of automation involved in such a complex process as motorcar manufacturing.

It boggles the mind that a roll of steel, somewhat like a giant cotton reel, can meta-morph into a motorcar at the other end of the factory, seemingly with little human intervention.

The biggest investment in the production of any new range of mass-produced cars lies in the re-tooling of the factory, particularly in the creation of new metal presses and dies to stamp out the body and chassis panels.

Obviously countless man-hours are spent in the design, installation and fine-tuning of the assembly-line machinery, before the green light is given to start production.

Nowadays, with computer-aided design, production lead-times for big manufacturers can be under two years, but the change-over from one model to another is still a major exercise in logistics and time management.

The Poissy plant covers 200 hectares and employs 7000 people. Daily production of 207ís is currently at 1000 cars per day, with some 200 206ís still produced at the plant as a cheaper alternative to the new 207.

Apparently the transition from full-stream 206 to 207 production went extremely well, because the 207 was designed for much easier production than its predecessor.

Peugeot management says that the new 207 reached the required quality levels in a very short time. Before full-scale production of a new model begins, the cars are produced on a pilot assembly line in batches of fifty units.

This pilot line must be capable of producing fifty cars per shift and these cars much reach a quality level with no defects. Until this volume and quality level is reached, the Poissy management will not give the green light for a complete switch-over to new-model production.

The new car is produced in three eight-hour shifts, so the factory never, ever sleeps, as the saying goes. But the effort is well worth it.

The human emphasis on modern factory lines has switched from heavy fabrication, which is now largely done by robots, to checking processes.

With modern cars becoming more and more complex in terms of auxiliary luxury and safety equipment, electronic checking takes on an increasingly important role, as hundreds of systems need to be analysed.

Perceived quality is also a major concern in this image-conscious age, and bodywork is painstakingly checked under special lighting conditions for paint and assembly defects.

Itís still gratifying to know that from a mechanical perspective, the cars are each checked on a rolling-road dynamometer before they leave the factory gates, so major components like engines, gearboxes, wheels and brakes are in full working order.

The South African 207ís launched this coming week will be aimed at the lower end of the small hatch market, and will be equipped with 1,4 litre engines in both petrol and diesel variants.

But it will be the new styling that grabs everyoneís attention.

Fans of the highly-rated 206 GTi will be happy when performance versions of the 207 become available.

This 207 concept racer, called the R-Cup caused a stir at the Geneva Motor Show a few months back. 

It has a two-litre four-cylinder engine producing a stunning208 kilowatts. 

Thatís the equivalent of 140 kilowatts per litre. From a naturally-aspirated engine, this is exceptional.

A six-speed sequential gearbox, 18-inch alloy wheels and some racy bodywork add-ons are part of the package.

Peugeot fans are holding their breath for this one, not only as a rally or racecar, but as production car for the road.

Peugeot 207 - part 1

Peugeot 207 - part 2

 

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