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Euro City Car Market Getting Three New Competitors

In 2001, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Toyota began collaborating to design, develop and produce fuel-efficient entry-level vehicles (city cars) for the European market. The two companies released a photograph of their first three models this last week.

The new vehicles, the  Peugeot 107, Toyota Aygo and Citroën C1, are set for a 2005 sales launch and their world unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2005. They will compete in a popular class segment, going up against vehicles such as the Smart from DaimlerChrysler.


Developed on a common platform, and powered by either 1.0-liter gasoline or 1.4-liter diesel engines, all three cars will begin rolling off the line at the new Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile (TPCA) plant in Kolín, Czech Republic in 2005. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles—200,000 units for Peugeot and Citroën and 100,000 for Toyota.

As outlined by PSA in its Interim Results report in 2001, the venture is using Toyota’s 1.0-liter gasoline engine and PSA Peugeot Citroën’s 1.4-liter diesel.

Through its diesel joint venture with Ford, PSA has become a diesel powerhouse in Europe. BMW, which had signed up to use a Toyota 1.4-liter diesel in the MINI apparently will drop that engine for the 2008 model year, replacing it with...a diesel jointly developed with PSA.

The PSA 1.4-liter common rail diesel was the first result of the company’s partnership with Ford and  offers power outputs ranging from 60 to 92 hp, and torque levels from 150 to 200 Nm.  The company projects that small cars—such as those above—using the 1.4-liter powerplant should feature an average fuel consumption of between 3.4 liters per 100 km (90 g CO2/km) and 4.1 liters per 100 km (110 g CO2 /km).

The engine and components are built with aluminum alloys and composites to reduce the weight. Additionally, all moving parts were specially designed to reduce their size and weight. For example, the valve stems are 5.5 mm in diameter, a size that  more common in small high-performance gasoline engines or motorcycle engines. This reduction in the weight of moving parts also contributes to the engine’s brisk response with rapid run-out capability similar to that of a gasoline engine, according to PSA and Ford.

Toyota will be providing the 1.0-liter gasoline engine from its manufacturing plant in Poland. My guess is that it will be a version of the upgraded 1.0-liter engine Toyota is using in its Yaris—another Euro small car, but a class above the Aygo. The Yaris has three gasoline engines from which to choose: 1.0-, 1.3- and 1.5-liter—the lower end 1.0 is the one I think will go to the Aygo.

The table below lists some of the engine characteristics for the new PSA-Toyota cars as well as the closest counterpart from DaimlerChrysler’s popular and award-winning Smart car line up.

Engines for the PSA-Toyota City Cars
 HDi 1.4
smart forfour
1.0 l VVT-i
smart forfour
Cylinders 4 3 4 3
Displacement: liters 1.4 1.5 1.0 1.1
Power: hp
Fuel economy: ltr/100km
(US mpg)
CO2: g/km 90–110 122 137 130
Emissions standard Euro 4 Euro 4 Euro 4 Euro 4

The actual PSA-Toyota performance will depend, of course, on the actual configuration of the vehicles, but this provides a ballpark estimate.

After reviewing the table, two things popped out at me. First was the high fuel economy and low CO2 on the PSA diesel. Second was that the PSA-Toyota cars may seem a bit underpowered compared to the Smarts. (Again, this may change given actual vehicle weights, etc.) In the case of the PSA diesel, with its greater fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions, a slight power deficit might not matter. But the gasoline side doesn’t offer those benefits. (And I could be very well off the mark on speculating on the use of that particular engine.)



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