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Citroen and Peugeot to join in Oz

Tango in Paris: Citroen vehicles such as the C4 Aircross will be handled along with Peugeot cars from 2013.

Ateco confirms end of the road for Citroen in its portfolio under PSA consolidation

19 Jul 2012

FRENCH car-maker PSA Peugeot-Citroen will consolidate both of its brands under one independent Australian distributor early next year.

Citroen importer for the past 18 years, Ateco Automotive, today confirmed to GoAuto that its distribution arrangement would cease at the end of this year as a result of a global restructuring of PSA operations.

GoAuto understands that Peugeot importer Sime Darby is set to add the Citroen line-up to its portfolio, which also includes Korean-made SsangYong vehicles.

The consolidation process is global, with distributors of Citroen and Peugeot vehicles being thrown together in Britain, Germany and elsewhere in an effort to improve efficiencies in response to the European car market downturn that has severely affected PSA’s financial position.

The formal announcement of the Citroen switch to Sime Darby is expected to come directly from PSA headquarters in France.

Australian Citroen dealers have already been informed of the moves.

Approached by GoAuto for comment early this week, Sime Darby declined to confirm the switch.

 center imageLeft: Neville Chrichton.

However, Ateco today confirmed that the decision to consolidate the PSA brands in Australia had been made, and would be effective from the end of 2012 or early 2013.

A spokesman said he could not say which importer would take over Citroen management in Australia, but it would not be Ateco.

Ateco recently sold the distribution rights for Fiat and Alfa Romeo, which were transferred to factory-owned Fiat Chrysler Australia under a similar consolidation move.

Remaining Ateco brands include Ferrari, Maserati, Chery, Great Wall and Lotus, as well as a major four-wheel-drive equipment business, Ateco Equipment.

Ateco says it is always on the look-out for new brands to import, having handled others such as VW, Audi, Suzuki and Kia, as well as Fiat and Alfa Romeo, before the factories took them over.

With a history of more than 80 years in Australia, Citroen is one of the longest-running vehicle brands to be continuously on sale in this country.

It rose to prominence in the 1920s when a Citroen car became the first to be driven around Australia.

Ateco and its major shareholder, Neville Crichton, took over the Citroen brand in 1994, when just 112 of the French vehicles, mainly Xantia and XM cars, were sold.

The company increased sales annually for 11 consecutive years, topping out in 2007 with 3803 sales, before the global financial crisis struck.

Once known for its innovation and quirkiness, Citroen has become more mainstream in recent years, sharing platforms and drivetrains with partner Peugeot to drive into the small-car market in Australia.

In all, 28,455 Citroens have been sold in Australia. Many more have been sold to Australian travelers in Europe as part of Citroen’s European lease scheme.

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