Fleet News

Citroen sees big increase in pan-European fleet deal inquiries

The man at the helm of Citroen's international fleet division has noted an increase in major companies seeking the possibility of implementing pan-European supply deals.

Thierry Peugeot's Paris-based team is discussing the concept of Europe-wide supply with about 85 companies, but it recognises that not all will result in a deal being signed.

However, speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Peugeot said it proves that more and more company fleets are keen to discuss their European requirements with Citroen.

'The group of companies we are talking to now totals about 85 - but obviously not all those discussions will transform into a pan-European agreement. In fact, it does not mean that all 85 are interested in a pan-European deal - but they could change their policy in the future.

'We continue to see major companies who buy purely on a national level moving to an international, multi-country approach.'

Peugeot said that last Citroen's international fleet division closed the year having signed four multi-national agreements. Currently, that division is negotiating potential international deals with nine customers.

'We closed last year with four international contracts. Today, we have about nine international contracts under negotiation. Again, that does not mean all nine will be signed, but it proves the trend is growing.'

Peugeot declined to say how many cars Citroen supplies as part of international agreements. 'It's very difficult to say,' he said, 'as not all those companies commit on volume, they want centralised information.'

Peugeot said many of those companies in discussion with Citroen approached the manufacturer themselves.

He said Citroen's vast product offering meant it was a manufacturer companies considering pan-European deals wanted to talk to.

'We have a good product offering. C3 is an extremely interesting product for fleets, and the Berlingo also continues to be a good success. Our increase in market share across Europe helps us sell more cars at a fleet level.'

The main barrier to signing an international fleet supply agreement, said Peugeot, normally lies with a company's senior management.

'It is very important to have a strong willingness from top management during the whole course of negotiations,' he said.

Peugeot also outlined some changes to his department which means he is also now in charge of a new Citroen division called Services, Parts and Key International Accounts.

Stressing that the services aspect does mean aftersales, Peugeot said: 'It is all the services that that the customer, whether an individual or a fleet, would like to have or what we can propose to them.

'The fact that Citroen is linking services, parts and international key accounts shows how strongly services and fleet are connected,' he added, 'fleet customers ask for many different services either for their own use or for the use of the drivers.'

'I'm in charge with satisfying the customer first, whether it is for parts, offering new services or responding to requests for a key account agreement.'

Peugeot said the services offered by the new Citroen division will be transferable across Europe - but admitted that while some services will work in some countries in others they may not. He will also benchmark different service offerings by different countries - and by Citroen's competitors.

'It is Citroen's aim to concentrate on what the customer wants,' he said. 'There are many different services, such as maintenance contracts and extended warranty, we offer but there are huge possibilities for others. We want to find out from the customer what they want from us.'

'My idea is to concentrate on services that will save the customer time and money - that is exactly what fleet customers require. They want to know where their cars are and when the next service is due.' As part of his new responsibilities, Peugeot and his team will work closely with Citroen's product executives.

'We don't just want to offer a car, we want to offer services linked to the car,' he said. He stressed that these services must be 'simple' and not complicate the customer.

'We don't want to offer a huge range of services that nobody will understand. Citroen has always focused on customer service but this new department relays a strong message. We could employ one person in each country to oversee it nationally.'


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