Peugeot South Africa and Citroën South Africa, which have operated independently since the return of the latter brand to SA in 2010, have now been linked to form Peugeot Citroën SA (PCSA), which will strengthen and streamline the French automotive brands locally for continued growth in a market. Carlos Tavares, the new CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën, presented his Back in the Race roadmap for the company for the period 2014-2018 which aims to see a return to profitability – as 2% operating margin in the automotive division by 2018 and a target of 5% for the next period, being 2019-2023 - as well as significant sales growth outside Europe. This plan includes streamlining the group’s model line-up to 26 models by 2020.
The current South African market of approximately 600 000 units a year is significant enough for both brands to be represented. In addition, there is now a strategy to develop the DS range into a standalone brand although in South Africa it will remain part of the Citroën portfolio for the foreseeable future.
New investors are being attracted to the brands to establish dealerships and these outlets will have larger areas of responsibility to make them more viable and so benefit the investors. Changes were recently announced by the new Managing Director of PCSA, Francis Harnie, who will now be managing director of both the Peugeot and Citroen brands. He previously was responsible for the Peugeot side of the business locally. The former managing director of Citroën SA, Didier Gerard, has returned to France.
One such change is that former Citroën SA general manager for marketing, Grant Bowring, will also take responsibility for the Peugeot brand, with former long-time Peugeot marketing general manager Clara Métivier Beukes, moving to take up a position at the global head office in Paris. Although marketing is headed up by one person there are still separate product and marketing specialists for each brand. Public relations, sales and dealer development will also still run as completely separate brands.
The product evolution and rationalisation over the past couple of years has seen modern ranges launched and developed for both Brands: Peugeot: 208; 2008; 3008; RCZ and Citroën with C1’ C4 Cactus, C3 Picasso, C4 Aircross, DS3, DS4 and DS5. There will be a steady stream of new models for both the Peugeot and Citroën dealers in the next few years, which is an excellent way to keep attention on these famous French brands. Peugeot has just launched the 2008 cross-over, while Citroën will introduce its award-winning C4 Picasso MPV in June. The Peugeot 308, which has just been voted Europe’s Car of the Year for 2014, will arrive here in January/February, with the Citroën Cactus crossover being introduced locally in March/April 2015.
Most of the PCSA commercial vehicle focus will be from the Peugeot dealers, although the Citroën team will continue to build on the foundations laid already in terms of the Relay minibus taxi and Despatch mid-sized people carrier.
PCSA managing director Francis Harnie says Peugeot will continue to build on its programme to change the perception of French cars in the eyes of South African motorists and he says a great deal of progress has been made in recent times with the introduction of the Premium Plan for maintenance, Mobility Plan for providing loan cars if parts are not available and Peugeot Bid to provide guaranteed higher trade-in values.
The PCSA senior executive stressed that the annual Kinsey Report into parts pricing had already proved how competitive the French brands are in this important component of cutting running costs. Affable Harnie is very enthusiastic about his new challenge as head of two iconic brands in a market which his principals see as having great potential for future growth.
“Admittedly it will take some time to bed down our new organisational structure and we have work to do in terms of our dealer evolution, but with the many exciting new models coming in the next year or so I am confident both Peugeot and Citroën have a bright future in South Africa,” he concluded.