Fleet News

Confusion over same car at different prices

TRIPLE-badge city cars are set to pose new challenges on fleet choice lists, despite their potential for attracting new car customers.

The focus of debate on the subject at the Geneva Motor Show last week was on the mini models now being built at a factory in the Czech Republic for Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen.

Having three makes of the same model to choose from can cause fleets and their drivers a problem as contract hire rates will undoubtedly vary and one model will fetch more at disposal than the others, despite them basically being the same car.

The trio share 92% common componentry, but unique frontal styling and interior packaging should allow each brand to have different pricing strategies.

And though company officials have yet to confirm marketing plans, it is likely that Citroen’s cashback plan, if introduced, will make its version the cheapest when it reaches the showrooms in May.

A spokesman said: ‘Cashback has allowed us to raise our share of the European small car market from 4% to 9% over the last four years, so we’re hardly likely to take a different approach with this car.’

PSA Peugeot Citroen chief executive officer Jean-Martin Folz said the firm aimed to blend low prices with unusually high quality standards.

He added: ‘We set out to develop simple, modern and stylish compact cars with advanced technologies and we are convinced this type of car will meet the needs of buyers across Western Europe as well as Central and Eastern Europe.

‘We never intended to design low-end models because research findings have clearly identified a growing demand for affordable compacts as expectations have pushed models upmarket, with each new car bigger than the one it replaces.’

Though a Peugeot version of the 1.0-litre petrol and 1.4-litre turbodiesel-powered threesome was first off the line when the factory swung into action last month, it will be June before the 107 goes on sale along with the Citroen C1, followed by Toyota’s Aygo in July.

Toyota president Fujio Cho said: ‘This has been a successful showcase of industrial cooperation. We have created three cars that will capture Europe’s imagination and win a special place in automotive history.’

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