Citroën managing director Linda Jackson is touring the network to drive the company’s determination to maintain its steady market growth in the UK, both market share and dealer numbers, by looking into the even the smallest minutiae of how its brand is being represented.
Even dirty cups left in view of customers are on the radar as Citroën plans a 5% market share.
SMMT new car registration data gave Citroën a 3.6% market share in 2012, an increase of a little under 1% on the previous year on the back of an additional 5,192 registrations.
Year-to-date Citroën has retained its 3.6% market share.
Jackson acknowledged the small 2011-2012 improvement, putting it down to a strong fleet performance particularly with small businesses utilising Citroën Contract Motoring and due to strong van sales which has given the brand a share of around 7%.
She said small growth is the key to stability in a difficult economic market, saying there has been “very minimal” pre-registration activity.
There was also the European effect.
“The market was helped by the exchange rate,” she said.
“It became a bit stronger and we were able to invest the additional money into good consumer campaigns.
Therefore 2012 went from being what I believed would be a tricky year to ending a positive with us hitting our targets.”
But Jackson stressed that she is not looking to stand still.
“Our market share is good,” she said. “But it’s not where we want to be eventually.
"I would like to get up to 5% or 6% market share by 2015”.
Key to the growth in market share – and dealer profitability – is the success of the DS range, the four model ‘high end’ brand launched in 2010 with the DS3.
And, as an example of the profit opportunity, Jackson said 85% of DS3s are sold on the Elect finance contracts.
“In 2011 DS represented 19% of our car mix and in 2012 this was 30%,” she added.
“This is great for building a brand, good for bringing a premium feel to the Citroën name and it has clearly had an impact on our market share.”
The higher margins available to dealers also had a positive impact on dealer profitability – and so Citroën had a strong case when it came to rolling out the new corporate identity.
For 2013, Citroën is looking for a “small” growth in share, around 4.3%, following a familiar strategy of new product – the DS3 Cabrio as well as C line cars – allied to continued emphasis on its finance offers which have been a part of the armoury for many years.
“We have had the Elect finance programme for a long while.
"But the Citroën philosophy five or six years ago was to offer cashback,” said Jackson.
Affordable monthly finance rates have replaced it.
“Clearly you establish a three-year relationship with a customer and have the ability, hopefully, to keep that customer when they renew,” she added.
“And if you look at the renewal rates we’ve got for this year it’s at a high level and we can be moving them back into a renewed plan.
"It’s a boon to customer loyalty.”
Citroën has also linked finance to insurance.
The new C1 Connexion comes with one year’s free insurance.
The special edition was designed with input from Facebook users.
More significantly, in a market where the youngest drivers are facing four-figure insurance premiums, the car comes with a Trafficmaster telematics ‘black box’ as standard.