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Parker's forecourt focus: Union calls unlikely to hurt PSA dealers

I wonder how many Peugeot and Citroën dealers are nervous of a quieter summer than usual thanks to calls by two of the UK’s biggest unions to boycott the French manufacturers’ products.

It’s a shame for everyone working at Ryton that PSA Peugeot-Citroën decided to close the plant and we all hope the company, unions and Government can put together a decent support package for those who will lose their jobs.

But a question mark had been hanging over it for some time as PSA has seemed reluctant to invest in Ryton for several years.

And it seems bizarre that Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union are now preparing a million-pound campaign to try to persuade car buyers to shun the French brands when workers at the plant have decided against industrial action.

Who gave the unions the right to tell consumers where to spend their cash? Buyers won’t ignore a good deal if it’s right for them, no matter who makes the car.

This year, Peugeot has the fourth largest share of the UK car market (Citroën is currently ninth).

The offers on new cars during June included up to £2,350 cashback on some cars, free sat-nav on others, 0% finance or free insurance. Citroën has become renowned for its cashback offers and in June was offering up to £3,000 of a C5 or C8 and an astonishing £4,600 off a Picasso.

The unions surely know the £1m earmarked for their campaign will be wasted as we’ve been down this road before.

Six years ago, unions called for a boycott of BMW products in the UK after the threatened closure of Rover Group’s Longbridge plant.

The calls were largely ignored and BMW sales remained healthy. A quiet few weeks at Peugeot or Citroën dealers this summer will surely be temporary.

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