Peugeot is set to beat the credit crunch by maintaining all its marketing activities this year – and entering into a new international rally championship series.
After pruning its UK sales network from 320 to 295 outlets, the French manufacturer insists it is in good shape to face 2009.
Spokesman Andy Sutton said: “Coming out of daily rental lost us 0.4% market share in 2008, but this was a deliberate move on our part so we could improve our business.
“Since July, our retail sales have declined in line with the market, but we now have a business plan that is based on the right network and the right people. Our view is that a positive outlook is the best way to counter the difficulties we face.
“The current problems result from a lack of confidence among consumers. Though we will operate on reduced volumes, we have clear objectives and have full confidence in what we’re selling. With 27 of our cars meeting the 120g/km of CO2 emissions level, we have the right products at the right time.”
At a conference just before Christmas, Peugeot UK told dealers that annual volume of 125,000 units was 28% lower than in 2007 and left the brand with a UK market share of 5.6%.
“Our message is upbeat but we still understand that less volume means lower potential income for dealers. We aim to help their cashflow situation in a practical manner by making sure district managers are on hand to give advice over stocking levels and stock control, particularly with regard to used vehicles.
“What dealers need not be concerned about are the budgets that will back the products we will launch in the future,” he said. “We will not be cutting marketing and product communication budgets because we don’t agree with some of our rivals in believing this is the time to sit back.
“We aim to keep telling everybody we are the world’s biggest producer of economy cars and we think that putting an S2000 207 model in the International Rally Challenge will demonstrate that cost-cutting motoring can still be fun.”
The 12-event series gets underway in January at the Monte Carlo Rally.