The factory will be producing 2,500 cars a day by the turn of the year and already has
overseas orders of 130,000.
Six thousand British drivers have a new model reserved and the firm is expecting more
orders to follow now that the public can get a closer look at the car.
The early success of the new model puts Peugeot at odds with competitors Rover and Ford
who have all announced cutbacks in recent weeks.
Peugeots managing director Richard Parham said today:
"This is a very, very important car for the future of Ryton. Everyone has worked
very, very hard over the last three years to ensure we won the investment decision to make
the car at the Ryton plant.
"We have the opportunity because of the agreement we reached with our own
workforce to increase our capacity by introducing a third shift at Ryton, if the car is
successful and the market in which is competes is growing.
"That has been in our long-term plans but we will have to look at how successful
the car is in the UK, Europe and globally and measure that carefully.
"We have worked very hard in the last couple of years to improve our productivity
and we have eliminated that productivity gap between ourselves and the overseas factories.
Everyone in the company has worked very hard and deserves congratulations for closing that
"You can never be complacent about improving quality and introducing new products.
Everyone has problems but if they are difficulties outside your control with the
economy for example it is very hard."
Neil Sebright, sales manager of Peugeot dealer Phoenix, said the garage had been
inundated with enquiries.
"The response has been incredible. We did our own launch on Monday and we
cant sell them any quicker at the moment. We have had around 40 orders