Previous importer, Sime Darby, released a statement announcing the change yesterday with managing director, Patrick McKenna saying “After careful consideration, a decision was reached to divest the Australasian distribution businesses.”
Inchcape, the British company responsible for Subaru in Australia as well as the Trivett dealer group, has bought the local rights to Peugeot, Citroen and DS for the Australian market, while the Rick Armstrong Motor Group will assume the rights for New Zealand.
Inchcape has already confirmed that its first new model launch will be the Peugeot 3008 SUV, but issued a statement saying that all other strategic plans would not be open for discussion until after the distribution changeover.
Potential future products could include the new Citroen C3 light hatch, an automatic version of the Citroen C4 Cactus, the seven-seat Peugeot 5008 SUV and the DS 7 Crossback, the first global SUV from Citroen’s prestige arm.
In the first four months of 2017 under Sime Darby’s control Peugeot sales have slumped 46.8 percent compared to the same time last year, while Citroen (including DS) has endured a 41 percent decline over the same period in Australia.
Groupe PSA executive Emmanuel Delay says the manufacturer is "fully committed to grow the presence of the Peugeot and Citroën brands in Australia", while Inchcape chief executive Stefan Bomhard says the brands have "performed exceptionally in the past few years and their product pipeline is exciting, relevant and offers great growth potential in the Australian market".
The change comes after months of speculation about a change of importer for the French brands in Australia.
In February this year Peugeot, Citroen and DS general manager Kai Bruesewitz told Australian media that "Sime Darby is not entertaining any speculation on any rumours to its businesses", and that the group would focus on the expansion of its range during 2017.
Sime Darby's regional managing director, Patrick McKenna, says the company elected to sell its PSA business following careful consideration and negotiations "to ensure that the vast majority of our employees in both countries would be offered employment under their existing terms".