Explaining why the French brand’s overall UK sales volume fell by nearly 21% during January and February, Peugeot UK’s managing director Christian Geraud says: “It is simple. We are pulling back from expensive fleet deals as that sector grows, while the retail market is heavily down.” He reveals that a decision not to bid for some daily rental contracts means Peugeot will fall from 12,000 to 6,000 cars sold in that sector this year.
Geraud explains: “We must manage the balance between volume and profitability. We cannot do everything. The financial situation of some of our rivals, who remain involved heavily in some amazing deals, is not very good. One day you take stock and stop.”
Peugeot’s UK managing director predicts the policy will probably cost between 7,000 and 10,000 cars and vans this year. Geraud says: “Across Europe we are coming out of expensive deals. How do some people stay in business?”
Despite this tactical withdrawal from corporate sales Geraud believes the arrival of the new 107, with 6,000 units and the 1007, on a projected 10,000 volume this year, will help push Peugeot’s UK share to 6.6% this year from 6.3% in 2004.
He says that some “under performing” dealers who “found it too comfortable when people were queuing up for 206s” should have their motivation and profitability restored by the 107, arriving in June, and the 1007 one month later.
Geraud admits he is worried that media concerns about the 1007’s sliding doors might detract from the launch of the mini-MPV. But after motoring journalists claimed the doors could be manually opened at higher speeds and fingers were bruised despite ‘anti pinch’ sensors, he adds, “Logically it should not be an issue, or a real debate. It is the same system as on the 807 MPV and that has never been a problem.”
1007 gets hairdresser car status
Peugeot is transforming its radical sliding door 1007 mini MPV into a ‘salon’ car by using High Street hairdresser Toni&Guy to promote its appeal among younger drivers.
The chain’s hair stylists will wear 1007 T-shirts and promote the car’s virtues with clients while issuing leaflets for a texting-only contest with a prize of £1,007.
Although this promotion is aimed at younger drivers, Peugeot admits the average age of 1007 owners will be above 40.
A side window sticker campaign will also be run in eight cities where owners of cars parked in tight spaces will get the message: “Life would be much easier if these were sliding doors.”