In a fresh bid to revive its flagging fortunes in Britain, the French firm has had second thoughts about its policy introduced last year banning minimum-profit deals, Fleet NewsNet can reveal.
The dramatic decision comes just weeks after new managing director Pierre Louis Colin took over the reigns at Coventry-based Peugeot Motor Co and is central to a plan aimed at putting the brake on dwindling market share.
Colin said: ‘In the past, we regarded market share of 7.5% to 8% as the norm, but another 0.5% drop took us to 6% at the end of last year.
‘My target for 2006 is 6.5% as we begin our move back in the right direction.’
Speaking in Paris at the preview of the new 207 supermini range, he said: ‘I believe this plan for growth can be achieved. The average age of our cars will fall as a result of the 207 and it will fall again when we replace the 307, which was launched six years ago. That will have a big impact on the way we do our business.
‘I appreciate why we walked away from low-margin deals – the amount of money our rivals put into selling their vehicles is incredible – but I think we made a mistake in deciding to prioritise on retail sales when the fleet sector makes up half of our activities in the marketplace. Despite the highly competitive trading environment, Peugeot ended last year showing a 3.4% operating margin when most of our competitors lost money. I think the time is right for us to look again at the deals we have declined in the past.’