Peugeot is planning a series of measures to improve the residual values of its core models, starting with the facelifted 308 (pictured) that is due to be launched later this summer.
David Peel, Peugeot UK’s managing director, admitted that the launch approach of the current generation of 308 wasn’t quite for the UK market, saying: “The French launched it with the confidence, arrogance of being segment leader and in the UK we were eighth so we went to market in a much more arrogant way, confident way than the UK would have needed. I think we lost in its early days, by not positioning it correctly.”
The relaunch will focus much more on the estate, or SW, model, which Peel says Peugeot feels has a visual edge on its competitors. Peel admitted that a rebranding of the 308 might help change customers’ perceptions, but said that the market-leading status in France meant this was unlikely to ever happen.
Other tactics to improve RVs include a clamping down on what Peel calls ‘tactical’ fleet registrations, and he has set a market share forecast of 4.4% for the fleet market.
“The stuff we are pulling out of is the high-cost, tactical stuff, which arguably a lot of the time we would lose money on,” he said. “It is short cycle business, which means it is back in the marketplace quite quickly and the end result is it is damaging our residual value position.”
He has also started telling retailers which demonstrator cars they are allowed to have for a new model, such as the 308 and the new 3008 before it. Historically dealers were allowed to choose their demonstrator, which meant they all went for a top-spec model in the newest colour, which meant that six months later there were 210 near-identical models in the marketplace, with dealers competing with each other to sell on the demonstrator stock.
“We have selected a mix of models, engines, gearbox combinations, colours, in line with the RV influencers’ recommendation of what is the best mix in the marketplace to maintain the RV,” said Peel. Peugeot also now allocates the demonstrators on a contract hire basis, so none of the dealers are able to distress sell the cars at the end of the term.
Peel is also speccing alloy wheels onto the low-grade Active cars that go out to daily rental, in a bid to make them more appealing come resale. “I know that wheel with a diamond cut wheel is going to be much stronger from an RV point of view than an Active,” he said. “It might cost me £150 today but it is going to put £3/400 on the RV in six months time.”
Peel had no news on the PSA deal to take over Opel/Vauxhall, beyond saying it would be done in quarter four of 2017. However, when discussing the rising costs of currency exchange, he said that: “It wouldn’t surprise me if PSA products are built in the UK with parts sourced in the UK if you want to protect yourself in Sterling.”
Until the deal, and even beyond if it gets to that stage, Peel expects the companies to remain much the same, separate entities. “We have no contact with them, they are just a competitor,” he said.