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Peugeot plots sales growth

Welcome addition: The just-launched 2008 crossover will help bolster Peugeot's dwindling local sales.

Diversifying is key for return to sales growth, says local Peugeot chief

11 Oct 2013

PEUGEOT is looking at turning sales around in Australia in a steady and sustainable manner after six straight years of dramatic decline, on the back of important new models in key growth segments, as well as an increase in marketing spend and customer care.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the 2008 in Canberra this month, Sime Darby Group Distribution general manager John Startari said that the release of the sub-compact SUV, as well as the upcoming all-new 308 small car in the second half of next year, will help broaden Peugeot’s appeal considerably over the next 12 months.

He also added that all the necessary groundwork started by his predecessor, Bill Gillespie, has now been put in place with the full support of PSA Peugeot Citroen in France.

“It’s no secret that we need to grow, but it needs to be sustainable growth – not quick wins for short-term gains,” Mr Startari said.

“We are setting up a platform that enables us to continue that growth in the foreseeable future, with a non-reliance on single models. It’s a matter of diversifying in the segments that we are competing in so we can continue our growth without being (venerable as) a one-car company.

“With the 2008, given it’s a new segment, we’re estimating on taking about 10 per cent share of a segment that should do about 500 units per month, so that’s about 50 units per months.”

Right now Peugeot volume is almost six per cent down this year despite a strong start from the Mitsubishi ASX-based 4008 compact SUV (currently the company’s best-seller), due mainly to the weak performance of the nearly six-year old first-generation 308, which is suffering a 40 per cent drop in sales.

Sales of the two-year old 508 medium sized sedan and wagon are also off the pace by the same amount.

As a result, with year-to-date sales so far tracking at 3693 units, it is unlikely that the 5000 sales barrier will be broken this year – a far cry from the 8807 high recorded in 2007, and the lowest since 2001’s economically depressed 3452 units.

“Our forecasts show we will be down 120 units this year,” Mr Startari admitted.

“But next year with the new 308 in the back half of the year, we believe we will start to build again with what Bill has put in place with the products that we will have, and that will yield steady growth in the foreseeable future.

“Our plans are to significantly increase our above-the-line marketing expenditure, and we are in discussion with PSA to finalise our plans for 2014, and you will see greater exposure of Peugeot vehicles in the public domain.”

Besides the 2008 and 308 Mk2, a raft of new drivetrain technologies will come on stream from the end of 2015, including the next-generation automatic transmissions co-developed with General Motors.

They are expected to address key criticisms surrounding the lack of a suitable auto in models like the 208, 2008, and 508, to put Peugeot on an equal footing with other manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Renault, and Ford.

New GM-shared turbocharged three and four cylinder engines – some with hybrid technology – are also in the pipeline in the latter half of the decade.

Additionally, Peugeot will open two more dealers in Australia over the next 12 months, to bring the total to 40, to better improve accessibility and customer care, backed up by its five-year capped-price servicing scheme.

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