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Peugeot gets its 'mojo' back

Mane seller: Peugeot says the good start to 2015 will continue, driven by encouraging sales of the new 308, which produced a surprising result for the load-lugging wagon.

Sales decline over by targeting customers wanting 'something different' says Peugeot

19 Mar 2015

PEUGEOT Automobiles Australia's local boss says the car-maker is clawing back sales with a long-term strategy of consolidating its range and targeting customers who are bored of the same old names with an invigorated line-up.

The company's sales have been sliding south since a 2007 high when it moved more than 8000 vehicles, but with the introduction of vehicles such as its 308 late last year, Peugeot says the worst is over.

Year-to-date sales to the end of February are up more than 25 per cent and Peugeot says the change is sustainable, and driven by a fresh new range that appeals to a wider audience.

Speaking at the launch of the refreshed 508 mid-sizer and 3008 crossover ranges this week, Peugeot Automobiles Australia general manager and director John Startari told GoAuto the increase in sales was mostly from people coming from rival brands.

“I think the bulk of our customers are looking for something different,” he said. “They are sick of seeing the same badge names around and all their friends have them.

“The current product range coming through is the best it's ever been and we are starting to get comparisons to what are perceived as the previous market leaders so it's great to see.

“Peugeot has got its mojo back.”

Mr Startari said the early signs are good but the strategy needs to be given time, and added that concentrating on rival's movements was not the way to go.

“The car industry takes six-to-eight months to roll out plans and we are starting to see the fruits of their labour,” he said.

“I'm not about a quick cash splash to generate huge growth for a short period.

Anything we do is sustainable growth and it's paid for out of free cash flow so that ensures we've got longevity in our plan and we grow with our dealers.

“To me, we're not looking at any particular (rival) brand because they all have different business plans and different cycles so it's very hard to pick a line in the sand that you've got to meet with.

“We are concentrating on our own and appealing to market demand. We've got a renewed team that's accomplishing really good things.”

As previously reported by GoAuto, part of the plan is to scale down the number of variants in each model range, while covering all the main markets, but “value proposition and bringing cars to market that are in growing segments” forms the other major strategy, according to Mr Startari.

“Obviously we have to stay in many segments to cover that full product sweep but for us the growth is going to come out of 208 and 308. They are going to be volume sellers for us,” said Mr Startari.

“In terms of model names, they are going to remain steady but the number of variants is going to be reduced. 308 will have to go through that later this year as well.”

In 2014, the French brand sold 4394 vehicles on Australian turf, which was the lowest since 2001's 3452 result.

In the first two months of this year, 811 Peugeot's found homes in Australia, 165 more than the same point in 2014.

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