Johannesburg - Peugeot South Africa and Citroën South Africa, which have operated independently since the Citroën's return to South Africa in 2010, have now been linked to form Peugeot Citroën SA, to strengthen and streamline the French car brands locally.
When Carlos Tavares, the new CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën, presented his Back in the Race roadmap for the company for the period 2014-2018, he emphasised sales growth outside Europe - and the South African market of about 600 000 vehicles a year is certainly big enough for both brands to be represented here.
Francis Harnie, who was previously responsible for Peugeot in South Africa, has been appointed managing director of PCSA, while former Citroën SA boss Didier Gerard has returned to France.
Long-time Peugeot marketing manager Clara Métivier Beukes has moved up to a position at head office in Paris, while Citroën SA marketing manager Grant Bowring has now also taken on the Peugeot brand, although he says he'll still have product and marketing specialists for each brand, and public relations, sales and dealer development will run independently.
Harnie says there will be a steady stream of new models for both the Peugeot and Citroën dealers in the next few years; Peugeot has just launched the 2008 cross-over, while Citroën will introduce the new C4 Picasso MPV in June. The Peugeot 308 is due for SA release in January or February 2015, with the Citroën Cactus crossover to follow in March or April.
HEARTS AND MINDS
Most of the commercial vehicle activity will be at the Peugeot dealers, although Citroën will continue to supply the Relay minibus taxi and Despatch mid-sized people carrier.
A major focus, says Harnie, will be on continuing Peugeot's programme to change the perception of French cars in the eyes of South African customers, which has already seen the introduction of the Premium Plan for maintenance, Mobility Plan for providing loan cars when parts are not available and Peugeot Bid to provide guaranteed higher trade-in values.
"The annual Kinsey Report into parts pricing has already proved how competitive the French brands are now in this area,” he pointed out.