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Why Peugeot will spearhead PCA LCVs in Oz

Van damn: Faithful buyers of the Citroen Berlingo will be coaxed toward the more conservatively styled but otherwise identical Partner from sister brand Peugeot.

Aussie Peugeot dealerships better placed to offer LCVs, hence switch from Citroen

23 Jul 2019


EXISTING capabilities in the Australian Peugeot dealer network were behind the decision by Peugeot Citroen Australia (PCA) to focus its light-commercial vehicle (LCV) strategy away from the Citroen brand.


The beginnings of this shift are already underway, with remaining stock of the Berlingo compact van now exiting the Citroen network ready for replacement by the new-generation Peugeot Partner early in the fourth quarter of this year.


Meanwhile, the Expert mid-size van that was launched in April has been met by critical acclaim, laying a solid foundation for the full-size Boxer when it arrives around the same time as the Partner in late September or early October.


It is a significant U-turn, considering Inchcape Australasia identified Citroen as its LCV leader upon forming PCA in mid-2017 as it took over from Sime Darby Motors as distributor of the French brands and that the Berlingo has been by far Citroen’s top seller since 2014.


Speaking with GoAuto at the Citroen C5 Aircross launch in Sydney this month, PCA PR and corporate affairs manager Tyson Bowen explained that the shift in LCV focus to Peugeot “wrote its own story” as the company worked through the requirement list for dealerships selling a full range of vans.


He said the number of Peugeot outlets that were part of multi-franchise sites with in-built capacity to work with fleets and, particularly, service LCVs was a stronger proposition and more straightforward than creating additional requirements for the Citroen network.


“Because you need bigger hoists and other things, the Peugeot network is in a stronger position to support that,” concluded Mr Bowen.


Allowing Citroen to focus on its recently completed three-model line-up of passenger cars and SUVs also gives the brand space to fully reset in Australia, as described in April by PCA managing director Ben Farlow.


“In the last two-to-three years, Citroen has become the Berlingo in our sales, in our focus in dealers,” he said at the time.

“I think taking a break from that and focusing on commercial vehicles in Peugeot gives our dealers (the ability) to build Citroen through SUV and the ground up.”


Die-hard Berlingo fans could, however, take comfort in the fact Mr Bowen told GoAuto that PCA was “not walking away” from Citroen LCVs forever.


“For the time being, it makes logical sense for Peugeot to market that (LCV) product portfolio while Citroen concentrates on a more passenger-car strategy,” he said.


“When you look at the Citroen product line-up in terms of the design elements and all the things we are doing, that is more aligned with passenger cars.”


Mr Bowen said there was no update regarding the one-tonne ute PSA is developing in China with ChangAn Automobile for a global launch next year.


As reported, All Peugeot vans will come with autonomous emergency braking and a five-year/200,000km warranty. Six-speed automatic transmissions are to be available on all but the Boxer.


The Partner will be available with two body lengths with cargo volumes up to 4.4 cubic metres and payloads up to 1000kg, while the Boxer’s standard and long variants range in capacity from 11.5 cubic metres to 13.0 cubic metres, with respective maximum load lengths of 3.1m and 3.7m.


Similarly, the Expert is offered with two body lengths with up to 6.6 cubic metres of capacity and a 1300kg payload.

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