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Peugeot commercials set to go

Expertise: Peugeot's first commercial van arrives here in July.

Peugeot to enter Australia's commercial vehicle sector in July via Partner and Expert

11 Feb 2008

PEUGEOT Australia will use commercial vehicles to help it crack the magical 10,000 sales barrier.

The top-selling French marque in Australia will finally follow its European premium brand rivals and start selling vans here from this July.

It will launch with two vans, the small Partner and the large Expert.

Both vehicles are part of a PSA-Fiat tie up that sees the products sold as Citroen Berlingos and Fiat Ducatos.

While Fiat, Citroen, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Volkswagen have all built significant commercial sales volumes, Peugeot Australia has instead restricted itself to passenger vehicles.

After hitting a record of 8807 sales last year, Peugeot Australia decided it was the right time to welcome the commercials.

“We are trying to get to 10,000 units and this might just help us get there,” said Peugeot Australia Managing Director Rob Dommerson.

Mr Dommerson estimated the company should be able to sell around 500 commercial vehicles before the end of the year.

“Our aspiration is fairly small to start with because we need to build the business,” he said.

He would not speculate on what type of sales volume Peugeot could expect in a few years time, but said introducing new models would not be easy.

23 center imageLeft: Peugeot Expert and Partner.

“It is such a competitive marketplace. The Europeans are in there with some great products, the Renaults and the Volkswagens and so on,” he said.

“I am heartened by the success of the (Peugeot) commercial vehicles in Europe, but we are going to be up against some tough competitions from the Japanese and even the Koreans.”

Asked why it has taken so long for Peugeot Australia to introduce commercial vehicles, Mr Dommerson said the company had been waiting for the new Partner and the Expert to be replaced as the old ones had been “pretty basic.”“We have been waiting for the new models. We have brand new models now, the old Partner is quite a bit smaller than the new one,” he said.

“The other issue is that we have been asking our dealers to invest heavily in new dealerships and concentrate on selling passenger cars and commercial vehicles could have been a bit of a distraction.”

Given Peugeot’s history as a long-term passenger-only brand in Australia, there could be some concern that customers may not relate well to a Peugeot badge also being used tradesman’s van, but Mr Dommerson is not concerned.

“We look at Volkswagen and Volkswagen Transporter, we look at Mercedes-Benz, so that wasn’t really a concern for us,” he said.

The Partner and Expert will be joined by two more Peugeot commercial vehicles, most likely next year, called the Bipper and the Boxer.

The oddly-named Bipper is a soon-to-be-released compact van, smaller than the Partner, and the Boxer is a larger, taller van.

Peugeot Australia expects that some of its dealers may need to increase the size of their workshops to accommodate the tall Boxer van.

While the introduction of commercial vehicles means some Peugeot dealerships will be faced with the challenge of making contact with new types of customers, Mr Dommerson said many already have experience in the field.

“A lot of our dealers are multi-franchises and they are already in the commercial business, so they are quite excited about it,” he said.

Peugeot Australia is yet to decide the engine and specification for the Partner and Expert, but it is likely both will be available only with diesel engines.

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