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First-quarter Citroen sales ahead by 22%

Citroen briefly held third spot in the UK light commercial sales league at the end of the first quarter before dropping back to fourth year-to-date.

It may have been a short-term statistical blip but it demonstrated that, by having everything in place, it is possible to take advantage of opportunities presented by rival manufacturers.

A Citroen UK LCV spokesman said: “Mercedes-Benz is traditionally No3 behind Ford and Vauxhall but changes to Merc's Sprinter allowed us to take third spot.”

The headline-making result represented a 22.2% sales growth (over the first quarter of 1999) and total sales of 5,020 LCVs in the first quarter of 2000. The spokesman added that Citroen had a commitment to its range, backed by a high level of service support, which helped it to outsell Peugeot despite the fact that the two manufacturers shared three of the four models in their LCV line-ups.

“Duffers aren't tolerated in the tough UK market so we make sure we have a class-leading warranty and good service back up,” he said. “We've put our money where our mouth is and offer a two-year unlimited mileage warranty - that means courier firms can run, for example, up to 250,000 miles in one of our vans in two years, all covered under warranty.”

The industry standard for warranties is either one-year unlimited mileage or two years with limits. Citroen has also developed a number of long-standing arrangements with specialist converters which enables operators to get more out of their vans.

The Berlingo is the big success story, accounting for almost 50% of Citroen's LCV sales in the first quarter of the year. Berlingo is now available with the PSA Group's new 90bhp 2.0 TD HDi common rail engine.

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