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Peugeot bullish on ’05

Peugeot is looking ahead to a strong 2005 after a tough 12 months last year when sales dipped 9.26%.

The carmaker expects to take 7% (6.54% 2004) of the market with retail purchases accounting for much of the growth. New product will trigger increased showroom traffic in the second half of the year as 107 and 1007 go on sale.

Combined, they will add 20,000 sales this year rising to 40,000 in 2006.

“Our dealers have a huge opportunity this year from incremental sales and greater retail interest,” says Peugeot marketing director Andy Sutton. “We believe the 1007 is the most exciting innovation since the hatchback, and we have already received more than 30,000 enquiries through website promotions alone.”

The company is budgeting “cautiously” for a 2.46m market, which would mean volumes approaching 185,000 this year, compared with 167,822 in 2004.

It also accepts the need for the progressive growth of plc retail groups in the high cost metropolitan areas, despite recognising that medium-sized retailers often produce the best results.

“Medium sized groups have the size for investment but they are also closer to the customer,” says Sutton. “That said, times are changing and the larger dealer groups are putting a lot of money into customer service and satisfaction. That makes them more attractive to us.”

However, he rules out plcs taking control of whole swathes of the country, either for Peugeot or other franchises.

“There is no indication that plcs have the will, the logic or the funds to take over huge parts of the country. They don’t want to get too big with any one manufacturer, just as manufacturers don’t want to get too big with one dealer,” Sutton says.

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