Despite softening demand for new vehicles, sales of Peugeot passenger and light commercial vehicles continue to show positive strides. The French auto maker recorded a total tally of 411 units in March 2013, representing an increase of 17 percent on February levels.
The trend is mirrored when comparing year-on-year sales, with Peugeot SA’s year-to-date sales for 2013 showing an increase of 17.7 percent on the same period last year.
The achievement is all the more significant against a backdrop of slowing industry sales. Overall demand for new vehicles in South Africa rose by a modest 3.3 percent in March, compared to February this year, and was actually down 2.8 percent on March 2012 levels. Year to date, industry sales were up 4.1 percent compared to 2012.
Driving Peugeot’s sparkling sales performance was the growing demand for the compact 208 – among the first of a new-generation of B-segment hatchbacks to reach local shores. Already enjoying a reputation for frugal running costs, strong dynamic traits and tactile quality, the 208 is offered in 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre variants.
The newcomer’s arrival in the latter part of 2012 coincided with increasing interest in more compact and more economical cars that still provide high levels of sophistication and a satisfying array of standard features. As a result, market acceptance of the 208 has been positive, both in SA and globally.
Internationally, February sales (with 20 700 registrations) confirmed the Peugeot 208 as leader in the hotly contested European (29 countries) B segment hatchback category, which it had conquered in December 2012.
The range is due for further expansion with the release of the high-tech 208 GTI variant, launching in South Africa during July, which is expected to add further momentum to demand for the hatchback.
The improvement in the French brand’s sales locally has also been positively influenced by Peugeot’s unwavering commitment to the SA market, with a particular emphasis being placed on upping sales and after-sales service levels.
The Peugeot Premium Plan, a five-year full maintenance offering on all new Peugeot models, not only underscores that commitment, but also offers buyers additional value and ownership peace of mind.
A revamped dealer network has played an important part in the substantial improvement of customer satisfaction levels, while also attracting new local investment, with the opening of new dealerships in Nelspruit and Cape Town.
“The March sales are heartening, and a welcome sign that our consistent efforts on the customer car front are paying dividends,” comments Francis Harnie, managing director of Peugeot SA. “Market conditions are not easy at present, and to show strong growth at this juncture is particularly gratifying.”
Harnie is convinced that Peugeot’s consistent focus on improving service levels are at the core of the growing demand for the brand’s products.
“We’ve been an underrated brand for too long, and our drive to meet the requirements of our customers by offering excellent service is a core part of the strategy to put Peugeot in the limelight. Those efforts are now paying dividends,” he concluded.
STORY BY PEUGEOT