Andrew Didlick, Peugeot’s UK PR director, says: “There is a real opportunity for growth out there for our dealers. It is product led and by 2009 the average age of our van line-up will be just two years, down from between seven and nine years at present.”
He anticipates that a growing commitment within the network to LCV business would involve “just under 200 outlets” with 130 fleet business centres forming the basis of the strengthened van sales footprint.
Didlick admits: “It is down to us to offer training expertise and back-up through a dedicated team spreading the word through the network, including van demonstration personnel.
“It will be up to dealers to nominate fleet and LCV specialists who also deal with issues like contract hire and leasing. But it is unlikely that we will have specialized van outlets in large or small operations. Last year we sold 17,000 vans and there is potential to grow that business via dealers.”
Caroline Beaumont, who “champions” Peugeot’s light commercial vehicle programme, will lead the company’s return next month to the commercial vehicle show at Birmingham’s NEC after a four-year absence.
Peugeot’s exhibits will include the new 207 van, an LCV variant built specifically for the UK market.
Didlick says the expanded van remit ranged from high volume operators like the company-owned Warwick Wright group to selling “one, two or three vans to butchers, bakers and candlestick makers from small dealers”.
Peugeot plans to extend its retail and fleet reach with the 10-model Expert Tepee people carrier, priced between £18,435 and £22,535. Available in standard and long wheelbase form, it can carry between six and nine passengers.
Didlick adds: “The Expert Tepee straddles private and fleet sectors and provides potential business for our retailers in an area in which we haven’t operated before.”