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Peugeot cracks fleet market

Shake and make up: Cosmetics company and party organiser Nutrimetics has signed a deal with Peugeot for a fleet of about 225 2008 compact SUVs.

Thousand-plus sales deal struck in first pair of Peugeot's major fleet agreements


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11 Dec 2015

PEUGEOT has broken into the potentially lucrative Australian fleet market, signing supermarket giant Woolworths and cosmetics company Nutrimetics to the tune of more than 1000 vehicles, to be delivered over the next three years.

Until now, the French car-maker has not actively pursued potential local fleet customers, but with the arrival of models such as the 308 small hatchback and refreshed SUV range, the company is keen to move back into the fleet space.

With a renewed focus on fleet buyers, Nutrimetics was the first to put its hand up, signing on for 250 Peugeot SUVs to replace its existing Ford EcoSport fleet. Woolworths followed later in the year, leasing 800 308 hatchbacks.

Speaking exclusively to GoAuto, Peugeot Automobiles Australia national fleet manager Nigel Wright said the closure of the two deals marks a huge increase in fleet sales for the brand.

“Going back 12 months, our biggest exposure in a corporate fleet was 30 cars,” he said. “Nutrimetics was a great win for us, Woolworths – we were ecstatic,” he said.

Nutrimetics' fleet of Peugeots will consist mainly of the small 2008 SUV, with 10 per cent of the deal made up of the larger 3008 and 4008 SUVs.

Mr Wright explained that the cosmetics company wanted a vehicle that was desirable but no more expensive than the existing vehicles.

“The cars, for the drivers, are an incentive and something to strive for,” he explained. “They didn't want to spend any more money from a fleet point of view, but they wanted to offer their employees a more aspirational vehicle, and when we came along with our new SUV range... they were delighted.”

Nutrimetics offers a vehicle to its more successful sales representatives, with the 2008 representing the most attainable reward, while the most productive staff graduate to the larger 3008 and 4008 models.

Peugeot's second big win was with Woolworths around the middle of 2015, with a deal struck to replace 800 manager-level vehicles. By coincidence, the existing fleet is also from the Blue Oval and will be replaced by the petrol-powered Peugeot 308 Active.

Mr Wright said the selection process had been tough with all the major brands involved, but a combination of the 308's price, fuel efficiency, desirability and comfort had swung favour in Peugeot's direction.

“We put in a heck of a lot of effort and, in terms of who responded to their tender, there were just over 20 manufacturers responding,” he said.

“They had a really detailed evaluation process. We were told after the driver evaluation, in terms of the hatch for the 800 (manager vehicles), we were head and shoulders above everyone else.”“They were running Ford Focus diesels. They're moving to the 308 petrol, and they are going to get better fuel economy.”

Mr Wright said securing a deal with a fleet customer has knock-on benefits, and signing a large reputable company has a positive affect in the retail showroom as well.

“We even find a number of our dealers are using those successes in the fleet world when they are dealing with retail customers,” he said. “Someone's looking at a 308 and they drop the fact that we just sold 800 of them to Woolworths it gives some prestige.”

Sime Darby Motors Group PR and communications manager Tyson Bowen followed up Mr Wright’s comments, adding that the vote of confidence from large businesses is noticed by consumers and goes some way towards banishing the myth that Peugeots are expensive to live with.

“We've not been in this space before and when you start talking about big fleets, fleets are driven by both running costs, servicing costs and support,” said Mr Bowen, “and perception for the Peugeot brand is that (running expenses) has been where we are weak, but these sorts of things help with that,” he said.

“First and foremost, they are a big fleet, but we are ready for them. We service them, we look after them, but it's the same as what we would do for our customers. It's great to have those proof points to tell people perception is one thing, but here is the reality.”

Peugeot does not expect any supply constraints with the large orders, with both new customers taking delivery gradually over the next three years as their existing fleets are put out to pasture. Woolworths is expected to receive 250 to 300 cars per year, with the first of the new vehicles already handed over.

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