There are four customer-friendly pillars to their current range three-year rejuvenation programme say Citroen, style, safety, technology and useful environmentally friendly products.
In the UK Citroen say you could add another pillar - value for money.
Citroen has recently introduced a raft of 2005 model changes and new technologies to their range in time for their Spring Drive sales campaign. These include the Stop & Start low fuel consumption and low CO2 emission technology for a model in their C3 range, an automatic transmission option for the C4 1.6 and 2.0-litre hatchbacks, the new look C5 with its lane departure warning system, speed limiter, directional headlights, and all-round parking sensors, the sporty C3 VTR with its 110bhp, 1.6-litre petrol engine, the low cost C2 VTS with low insurance group ratings for younger buyers and the C2 Enterprise Van with a 1.4-litre diesel engine which is aimed at business operators who want a low cost, high specification commercial vehicle for around town deliveries. Citroen say these changes and addition reflect the needs of today’s customers in the real world.
In 2003 Citroen sold 117,602 new cars in the UK. Last year this reduced to 105,596 and this year Citroen expect that number to reduce still further. Citroen say this is in line with the UK’s overall decreasing market and the fact that they no longer get involved to any great extent with non-profitable fleet or daily rental business. This, coupled to the fact that in the UK overall retail sales have slowed, means less new cars will be sold by Citroen again this year. However in February Citroen became the Uk’s second highest selling retail brand.
Speaking at Citroen’s Spring Drive event for motoring writers, Public Affairs Director, Marc Raven said, "UK customers recognise Citroen as selling value for money cars because we are very up-front about our retail cashback offers. They are open and transparent and by promoting the value-for-money aspect in our advertising we have taken the doubt from the customers mind, its honest, they know exactly what they are going to get".
Raven added "Our retail customers are now buying more diesel powered cars out of choice because they like the quality of drive these engines gives and this is reflected in our sales where 50 per cent of the new cars we sell are diesel". The UK market average for diesel sales is 37 per cent.
In addition to the 100,000 plus passenger cars Citroen sell in the UK, they also sell around 25,000 light commercial vehicles each year. Raven said, "The launch of the new C2 Enterprise Van with its near 70mpg, 1.4-Litre HDI diesel engine and group 1E insurance rating opens up a new area for Citroen. It allows us to now talk to a whole new range of commercial vehicle customers". The C2 Enterprise Van is priced at £7,495 plus VAT and delivery charges.
Raven added, "Our dealers love our campaigns, they love the offers because they catch the customer’s eye". He disputed the view that quarterly programmes of cashback offers had damaged Citroen’s residual values. Raven said, "You must compare the actual sale price the customer pays, not the official price list against the trade-in value and the rate of depreciation on our models is in line with our major competitors".
Citroen’s new compact C1 city-car will go on sale in June. The C6 flagship of the range will be added to the UK market early next year.
Currently Citroen has 220 UK dealers with another 50 open points to be filled, including one in their home town of Slough.Published 30 March 2005