The move, intended to boost authorised repairer numbers from 260 to 350 in the short-term and reduce national undercapacity, has angered some retailers. One pointed to a letter from Citroen aftersales director Arne Willerslev stating that the service shortage has had a “major negative impact on CSI results as well as our parts business”, claiming it was causing some network discontent.
Each new authorised repairer will adhere to the same standards as the franchised aftersales departments: estimated investment in the workshop and reception areas is £30,000. They will be assessed according to the aftersales selection criteria, including available service business in the area. Citroen says new repairers will contribute to the “urgently required” CSI improvements and will be beneficial for the neighbouring parts distributor.
Regional dealer council chairman John Miskin, of Citroen Sportif in Aylesbury, dismisses claims of dealer unrest, however. He says most are doing a superb job on aftersales – “I think Citroen appreciates that” – and adds: “The dealer council has a strong relationship with Citroen which is still improving. We talk about all issues raised by dealers, and Citroen listens to what we say.”
Citroen has been forced to expand its aftersales network after huge growth in new car sales since 2000. With minimal increase in the franchised dealer network, undercapacity has seen some service and repair customers waiting six weeks or more to book in their cars.
Willerslev’s letter adds: “Some dealers have seen this and have invested in their aftersales facilities in order to seize the business and reduce lead times, but the growth on a national basis is very slow. Over the last couple of years we have only managed to add an average of half a technician per workshop.”