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Citroen to thrive in competitive Australia

Battler: Even if a fresh start for Citroen under importer Sime Darby fails to boost sales in Australia, the French brand has no intention on pulling the plug on this market.

After 90 years in Australia, Citroen ready to weather any storm

Citroen logo13 Feb 2013

PSA Peugeot Citroen sees no reason to abandon Australia if a dramatic forecasted sales increase does not arise from the switch in distributorship from Ateco Automotive to Sime Darby.

Speaking with GoAuto at the official handover of Citroen to Sime Darby this week, PSA Peugeot Citroen vice president of international operations Yves Moulin pointed out that the famous French brand has already survived for 90 years in Australia.

“No there is no reason (to leave), we are here since 1923. We are able to sell cars nearly everywhere,” he said.

“We want to be there (in Australia) even if we have a small customer base we have people that love their Citroens, that love the brand so there is no reason to leave, believe me.”

Mr Moulin said the push to restore volume in Australia would have little impact on keeping European factories ticking over while the continent endures a sustained economic downturn, but maintained that this country represents an important market.

“We forecast in Europe the market would be 18 million (but) in fact it is 14 million so it is a 4 million gap.

 center imageLeft: PSA Peugeot Citroen vice president of international operations Yves Moulin.

“We reached a 30 per cent market share in Europe, which divided by 4 million is nearly 500,000 cars we have lost, so compared to 10,000 (potential combined Peugeot and Citroen sales) here it is nothing.”

The strong Australian dollar makes it easier for PSA to offer its products here at an attractive price – something Sime Darby has taken advantage of with a repositioned Citroen range – but Mr Moulin admitted a fluctuating exchange rate with the Euro could make it harder to compete.

“Currency is always a risk. Most of our cars are coming from Europe this is where we have our main factories and this is where we are able to produce cars for the rest of the world.

“We are linked to Europe, we are linked to the Euro. If you look at the currency in the last 10 years sometimes the currency was not viable for us.

“But the economy in Australia is good, there is no reason to change and the economy in Europe is not as good as we would like but it is not a catastrophe.”“If there are very big changes in the currency, yes we will adapt the prices, but we are not alone (as) they (competitors) will also have to adapt to the currency.”

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