Peugeot has unveiled a three-point plan for fleet growth to build on the momentum of a number of important model launches.
In the past two years, the French manufacturer has launched the 108, 208 and 308, while the 508 range has just been revised.
As well as showing the cars to as many people as possible, Peugeot aims to improve relationships with leasing companies, as well as increase sales to small and medium-sized businesses through its dealer network.
Martin Gurney (pictured), fleet and used vehicle director, said the plan will play a crucial role in improving brand perception.
“My ambition is for Peugeot to be ranked alongside Volkswagen in the next five years and our first task is to maximise the opportunities presented by new models,” he said.
“The 308 is two generations ahead of the car it replaced and, compared with the past, we’re doing business with it in a completely different way.
“As Car of the Year, the hatchback has had a lot of interest and the SW estate builds on this with unrivalled packaging, so we’re grasping the opportunities the cars present by showing them to as many people as we can.
“To this end, we’ve revised the 100-plus fleet focus of our national key account managers down to 50-plus fleets to reach more potential buyers.
“It’s an old adage, but bums on seats couldn’t be more relevant to what we’re doing, and we’re already seeing positive success with orders.”
Further developing relationships with leasing companies is the second priority.
Gurney added: “We have strong links with some customers and I want us to improve our communications to the point of involving them when we launch new models – better links are increasingly important as more businesses choose leasing companies to fund their purchases.”
Thirdly, he regards increasing sales to small and medium-sized businesses through the dealer network as being at the heart of organic fleet growth.
“There’s no doubt that we have missed a trick in this area in the past with both cars and vans,” he said.
A business sales department set up a few months ago is working to develop the services offered to fleets.
Gurney added: “We hope to double sales from this area next year, albeit from a fairly low base.
“I’m also responsible for Peugeot Contract Hire and I’m confident offers featuring core models with keen monthly rental rates will prove attractive.”
Over the past five years, Peugeot’s UK division has cut back on the short-cycle, high churn and low margin deals Gurney describes as red channel business.
He said: “In 2009, we reached 20,000 daily rental units. Last year that figure dropped to 8,000 and we’re budgeting for 4,000 this year.
“I want it reduced still further because the prize of winning more green channel outlets is an improvement in our basket of residual values.
“We benchmark ourselves against Volkswagen and five years ago we were 11 percentage points behind it on our measured basket of products over three years/60,000 miles.
“By last year, we had reduced the difference to 4% and we will achieve our target of cutting the gap to 3% at the end of this year. I’m very pleased about this rate of progress and there’s no doubt that continued efforts to improve our channel mix rather than increasing market share is the foundation of our business.”
At 4.95% with 35,943 registrations so far this year, Peugeot is down on the 5.55% share it achieved last year.
“Currently, we’re probably 2,000 short in the green channels,” said Gurney. “However, our LCV business is 60% ahead for the first eight months.
“We’ve been selling around 16,000 units annually, but 20,000 registrations and a 10.12% share means we’re currently growing three times faster than the market.”