Citroën is a top two player. Yes, you read that right.
Not in overall fleet sales (it remained just outside the top 10 last year), but in salary sacrifice schemes it is extremely popular.
It is behind only fleet giant Ford on Tusker’s SalarySacrifice4Cars (SS4C) scheme.
“Salary sacrifice is certainly a door opener for us,” Andy Wady, Citroën’s fleet director, says. “It has helped open up a lot of fleet policy lists that have traditionally been closed to us or where we’ve taken less of the share.
“Salary sacrifice tends to be based around low emission vehicles and that’s where we sit quite nicely.”
DS3 – part of Citroën’s premium DS line – and the C1 have been its most popular models with salary sacrifice. In addition to low CO2, competitive deals have helped to raise their appeal further with company employees.
DS line to attract fleet customers
Wady is expecting to attract more fleets, particularly user-choosers, to the DS line with the launch of DS5 in April.
It will be the first production Citroën to offer diesel hybrid technology (Hybrid4), following in the footsteps of sister company Peugeot.
Wady says the diesel hybrid concept has been well received by fleets and CO2 of 99g/km will be “a headline catcher”. (According to a Fleet News survey – October 13, 2011 – 51% of fleets say diesel-electric will be the most popular alternative fuel on their fleets in the next five years.)
“It will allow us to compete credibly with some of the premium guys and some of the crossover guys with a much stronger product offering,” he says.
He is expecting DS5 to sell 3,500 units, with the Hybrid4 accounting for 10%. Two-thirds of the total are expected to be fleets.
“DS3 has been very successful within fleet but it’s not a great fleet car because it is a three-door whereas DS4 and DS5 put us in a much stronger position because their body styles are more appropriate for fleet,” he says.
Citroën wholelife costs manager Jason King has been working with the pricing guides ahead of each DS launch.
As a result of their feedback, Citroën made changes to vehicle specification. Wady says the car has been “enhanced” for the UK.
He admits that Citroën still needs to make more progress with residual value management but says “we are trying to be a responsible manufacturer”.
“We’re not doing lots of short-cycle business and dropping large amounts of used vehicles in the early part of their lives,” he says.
“We could create very fast sales results at the front end but cause ourselves long-term problems in terms of residuals.”
Only 1.25% of Citroëns’ total volume last year was rental and that included supplying a few hundred DS3s to Avis.
“They put DS3 into its own segment, as a premium offering, so it worked for us,” Wady says. “But for all intents and purposes we’re out of rental.”