Despite slow sales in Australia, Citroen has confirmed that it is here to stay.
During a recent visit to Australia for the launch of the Peugeot 5008 SUV, Emmanual Delay, executive vice president of the French company's India-Pacific operations confirmed that Citroen was secure for the time being.
Citroen parent-company Groupe PSA, and its local distributor Inchape, are currently reviewing the brand's business plan.
In 2017 Citroen recorded just 735 sales, a slump of 23 percent drop compared with the previous year. Citroen trails other slow-selling brands although it did manage to stay ahead of Chinese SUV brand Haval's 710 sales.
“Exactly how we’re going to sell Citroen in the future is still being reviewed between us and Inchcape,” Delay said.
Ahead of the outcome of any business review Citoren has already locked-in launches for the C3 light hatch and C3 Aircross small SUV in 2018. The mid-size C5 Aircross SUV (below) is also lined up for an Australian introduction, however timing is yet to be confirmed.
“I think Citroen has done a lot of work on rebuilding the brand story in the last few years,” said Delay.
“The good news is the Australian market is not a market that requires very difficult specifications for us to meet. If we look at our global line-up we don’t have to say ‘we have to make a difficult choice and only choose one or two models because it’s expensive to homologate the cars for Australia’ - that’s not the case.
“That will not be a hurdle for us, the line-up will be chosen based on the merit of each model and what it means for a portfolio of models for Australia. I think the line-up is reasonable for Australia, or the future line-up of Citroen is reasonable. It’s not as profuse as Peugeot but it’s still enough.
“The business model of the Citroen brand in Australia with Inchcape is now under review. What I mean by that is, yes we realise the overall volume and the car park is a fraction of Peugeot.”
Delay also touched on the future for Citroen's luxury division, DS Automobiles, which was quietly phased out of Australia at the termination of its previous distribution deal with importer Sime Darby.
Delay confirmed that while PSA and Inchcape were examining the possibility of bringing DS back down under during 2018, no deal had been struck to reintroduce the luxury divisionl.
“We didn’t want to force it into the deal,” he said of adding DS to the existing Peugeot and Citroen arrangement.
The new DS 7 Crossback SUV (above) would likely be the spearhead of any potential revival for the brand. The BMW X3-rivalling SUV has recently launched in Europe and other global markets for the brand and is the first of three planned new SUVs for DS.
Inchcape has also confirmed the introduction of a five-year warranty for all new Peugeot and Citroen models. The coverage applies to all 2018 models, even those already sold in January, and also includes roadside assistance for the same period.
“From design to engineering and manufacture, efforts at all levels of the business have focused on quality, durability and reliability – and this new five-year warranty underscores our confidence in the new-generation of Peugeot and Citroën product,” explained Peugeot Citroen Australia managing director, Anouk Poelmann.
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