PSA Group expects to launch a connected aftersales platform across its Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles brands that could boost car retailers’ retention levels “by next year”.
The French manufacturer launched its new Free2Move Connect Fleet platform during the CV Show at the NEC in Birmingham yesterday (April 24) and Helen Lees, PSA Group’s head of electric vehicles and connected services in the UK, told AM that the software behind it would usher in greater connectivity to boost the aftersales operation of UK retailers.
Lees said: “There is a trial ongoing in France of a connected aftersales solution which will prompt drivers of any fault or if a service is ready and connect directly to the retailer, allowing them to book-in for the work.
“It has proved a huge success in France and retailers have seen their retention rates rise to 75%, which we’re really please with.
“While there are no plans set in stone at the moment I’d fully expect the system to reach the UK by next year.”
Mobility is an important part of the PSA’s Push to Pass growth plan, which aims to deliver 10% group revenue growth by 2018 versus 2015, and an additional 15% by 2021.
The Free2Move platform is central to this, potentially realising a range of retail, fleet and car sharing solutions based around the telematics hardware already installed into numerous Peugeot, Citroen and DS vehicles in the form of Connect SOS, an emergency call button and locator already installed in many vehicles.
The system already facilitates MyPeugeot, MyCitroen and MyDS apps, which allow customers to locate their vehicles and, in some cases (Citroen C3) take picture with an on-board camera that can be shared directly via social media.
Free2Move Lease was the first division of Free2Move to be launched in the UK, in January last year. Other mobility services will follow some will be aimed at retail rather than fleet customers.
Lees said: “In the past core fleet models and higher specifications cars within our ranges have been fitted with the Connect SOS system but from now on all new models launched by the group will feature the connected technology.”
Among the solutions that can be ushered in by the technology is a car sharing functionality which has already been rolled out to customers in France, according to Lees.
An app allows people to access PSA Group vehicles from a range of car sharing providers such as Drive Now and Zap Car, but she said: “We don’t have those partners here in the UK right now.”
Lees said that PSA Group’s UK retailers had been privy to the long-term plans attached to the over-arching Free2Move offering and a training module had recently been offered to brief sales executives on the Free2Move Lease product.
She added: “Free2Move is the PSA brand that underpins a lot of development in connectivity and mobility. It’s the brand which will re-launch the group in North America, so it’s extremely important to the Push to Pass growth plans.
“Ultimately, it will mean an awful lot of things to a lot of people.”