Reports suggest that PepsiCo is preparing to launch a new flavour or different coloured variant of its flagship Pepsi-Cola brand just before Coke is to unveil its Vanilla Coke range extension.

Both companies are looking to revive flagging sales of their core brands which are becalmed in a static carbonated soft drinks (CSD) market. The overall US soft drinks market only grew by 0.6% in 2001 with sales of the leading brands falling in the same period.

PepsiCo would not comment on the speculation but has invited journalists to its headquarters in Purchase, NY for a business review which will include "some news". The Pepsi Bottling Group had suggested that a range extension is in the pipeline for the summer.