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PSA commercials could grow

Single again: Peugeot broke up the partnership with Partner this year following disappointing sales, but has not given up on lion-badged vans.

Larger light-commercial vehicles under consideration for Peugeot, Citroen

18 Dec 2015

PSA Peugeot Citroen’s local distributor Sime Darby Motors is considering the introduction of larger light-commercial-vehicle offerings to sit above the Berlingo, despite dropping the Peugeot-branded vans earlier this year.

While Peugeot has not “walked away” from the segment, it is more likely the Citroen side of the sister brands will expand its commercial range, following the positive reception for the Berlingo small van.

Speaking to GoAuto at a Peugeot and Citroen drive day this week, Sime Darby Motors Group PR and communications manager Tyson Bowen explained that there was scope for commercial vehicles larger than the current single offering.

“There's options above and below Berlingo out of Europe and some of them just won’t work here,” he said. “Jumpy is the smaller one below the Berlingo in Europe. There was consideration but that style of van here doesn't really resonate. Whereas above I think there's room for us to look at that.”

Peugeot has previously offered the Partner small van and larger Expert, but the pair were pulled after failing to attract a strong audience. Mr Bowen explained the company's strategy was to redefine Peugeot as a more passenger-focussed product, while Citroen would continue to carry the commercial coat of arms.

“The reason we stopped selling the Peugeot light commercials earlier this year was because of the strength of the two brands and what the market thinks.

“When they think of Peugeot, not many think of commercials at the moment, Citroen they do and you play to your strengths.”

While Citroen is the clear favourite for large van additions, Mr Bowen said both marques needed careful consideration before any new vehicle could be finalised for the Australian market.

“Even on the Peugeot side,” he said. “For both brands we've got to look at it all. They have separate teams but they are all being driven by the same thoughts – customer support and competitiveness. If we get those things right then there is potential.”

Mr Bowen went on to explain that adding a new model to the local line-up was not as simple as it could be with passenger models, and the size, weight and specialised nature of commercial vehicles caused other challenges that needed to be worked through.

“Bigger vans need infrastructure and investment. You've got to look at how you can roll those things out without putting undue strain on the dealer network and start selling car that we can’t support.”

The company is currently without a CEO after John Startari left the top spot in October, and Mr Bowen said some future product discussions, including light-commercial consideration had stalled until a replacement has been appointed.

“There were things that were commenced and under way and those discussions are still happening in the background but until we have those people bolted in, it's a bit too early to tell.”

Citroen sold 280 Berlingos to the end of November this year, ranking it as the company's best-seller, but the C4 Grand Picasso is on its heels with 243 for the same period.

The Berlingo may be the cash cow for Citroen but it is a fair way behind its little van rivals such as the Volkswagen Caddy with 1695 sales and Renault's Kangoo with 1071.

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