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Opel buyout won’t change Australian plans: Citroen

Buy it now: Citroen customers will not overlap with buyers of Opel or Vauxhall, meaning the PSA buyout of the European GM brands will not force the brands to compete against one another for sales, says Citroen CEO Linda Jackson.

Vauxhall/Opel acquisition seen as complement to PSA brands, according to Citroen

Citroen logo13 Mar 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

PSA Group’s purchase of GM brands Vauxhall and Opel – the source of a large proportion of future models for Holden in Australia – will not affect any plans currently in place, according to Citroen CEO Linda Jackson.

Speaking to GoAuto at the 2017 Geneva motor show last week, Ms Jackson said operations will continue “exactly as it was before, because basically the purchase of Opel simply adds another brand”.

“We will still continue with all the brands we’ve got because we see them as complementary, we don’t see them as substitutionary, so for us it’s exactly the same,” she said.

“We will continue to make sure we move forward in Australia and to have good representation and we have good models.”

Holden will source its next-generation Commodore from Opel’s Insignia mid-size sedan and wagon, and currently imports the Astra small car to compete against the likes of the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.

The lion brand also intends to import a number of other models from Europe over the next three years – plans which will remain intact and unaffected, according to Ms Jackson.

The Citroen chief added that the European landscape was also likely to remain unaffected, with PSA brands Peugeot, Citroen and DS and the newly acquired Opel and Vauxhall brands operating as normal for the foreseeable future.

“No, I don’t think it changes, because when we look at who’s buying what, there are very little Opel customers buying Citroens and vice versa, so there’s no conflict there,” she said.

“We see it as a way to be able to maximise ourselves. So for us it’s not about changing any positions of Citroen or Opel or whatever, it’s about managing all the brands at the same time.”

Ms Jackson also reaffirmed Citroen’s commitment to the Australian market, saying the French brand will look for continued growth locally.

“Our aim is to become more international because currently 35 per cent of our sales are outside Europe and we want to go to 45 per cent,” she said.

“Now obviously, that’s across a lot of regions, including of course, we want to grow in Australia and we sold C4 Cactus with limited success but it’s a very positive (step) for the market and the brand in terms of image so we obviously want to grow.

“It’s a matter of having the right product with the right timing, so it’s important for us to be present in Australia and we will work with the region to be able to do that.”

Citroen currently offers few models in the Australian market, including the C4 range which covers the Cactus, Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso, as well as the C5, light-commercial Berlingo and trio of DS-branded DS3, DS4 Crossback and DS5 vehicles.

Last year, Citron sold just 965 cars in Australia – its worst result in more than 10 years and a 12.7 per cent drop over the 1106 new cars it registered in 2015.

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