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Citroën UK outlines 2020 strategy to dealer network ahead of the brand’s electrification offensive

Citroën UK outlines 2020 strategy to dealer network ahead of the brand’s electrification offensive

Citroën UK briefed its dealer network during a National Dealer Conference in Manchester late last week, with the key message of ‘Vive L’Opportunity’. The 2020 conference was timed ahead of, what promises to be, a landmark year in the brand’s 101-year history.

Speaking at the event in the Exchange Hall, Manchester Central, Citroën UK executives – including Managing Director, Karl Howkins – delivered key messages for 2020, with the overarching theme of ‘Vive L’Opportunity’. The title of the conference draws upon the brands French origins and flair, whilst at the same looking forward towards the opportunities linked to the brands electrification offensive that commences this year.

2019 was a year of growth for Citroën in the UK, in both car and light commercial vehicle (LCV) sectors. In the car market, the brand enjoyed growth of +2.4% against a market that was down -2.4%, helped, in part, by the successful launch of New C5 Aircross SUV that brought incremental sales to the brand. Citroën UK also enjoyed a stellar performance in the combined LCV and HCV market, growing +7.3% on the previous year, ahead of a market that was +2.3%, growing the brands market share by 0.3 percentage points.

The contribution made by the Citroën network in 2019 was acknowledged at the event, with the top three dealers being recognised for their outstanding performances. The ‘Dealer of the Year’ prize went to Elim Citroën of Anglesey, with second and third places being awarded respectively to Robins and Day, Manchester and Sportif Citroën in Aylesbury. Karl Howkins, and Sales Director Eurig Druce, presented the dealership awards. As well as applauding the most successful dealer partners, the top sales professionals were also recognised in the brands ‘Golden Chevron’ Awards for 2019.

Eurig Druce outlined plans that will save the average Citroën dealer an additional £50,000 per year, through changes to bodyshop courtesy car and demonstrator programme requirements. In addition, a number of dealer programmes have been simplified, with a view to maximising dealer earnings.

Marketing plans were front of mind too, with new campaigns to promote the brand’s award-winning SUV’s – C3 Aircross Compact SUV and New C5 Aircross SUV. Both models benefit from new TV advertising in 2020. Marketing Director, Souad Wrixen, went on to outline a number of other key initiatives for the year ahead, all fully consistent with the Citroën brand values and Advanced Comfort Programme®.

Laurence Hansen, Citroën’s Product and Strategy Director, who was appointed to the role in October 2019 replacing Xavier Peugeot, detailed the Citroën brand’s product launches over the coming years, with 2020 marking the start of Citroën’s electrification offensive. Starting this year, all ‘new generation’ cars and vans are being made available with an all-electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain, in addition to petrol and diesel combustion engines. This strategy has been devised to give consumers the flexibility to choose their desired model, and then the method of propulsion most relevant to them. First to launch – New C5 Aircross SUV Hybrid – was showcased to the dealer network, whilst LCV electrification was also detailed, with all Citroën LCVs to be electrified by 2021.

With the Citroën brand’s ever-increasing commitment to electrification, the conference also served as the perfect setting to ensure the aftersales network is ready for the opportunities ahead. Charles Martin, UK Aftersales Operations Director, Groupe PSA, guided dealers through the transition process, including readying themselves for changes in revenue streams when compared to more conventional internal combustion powered vehicles. Yet another topic underpinning the title ‘Vive L’Opportunity’ for the 2020 Citroën UK National Dealer Conference.

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