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History and Ownership

Peugeot as a brand, has been around for over 200 years starting as humble blacksmiths and diversifying over time into dining-table condiments which are still manufactured elsewhere under licence from Peugeot.  A significant turning point was into road transport with the manufacture of Peugeot bicycles and motor-assisted bicycles (mopeds), then the manufacture and sale of cars, small and larger commercial vehicles which continue to this day, based in France but increasingly now overseas from Germany to China with many stops in between.

Notably, Peugeot family members have featured in the management of the company since inception, a fact which has irked certain groups of individuals and French government over the years - the French government interfering with the operation of the company by insisting upon changes of strategy - for instance the bankrupted Citroen brand was forcibly imported into the Peugeot Company.  In recent years following a temporary profitability/cash crisis, Chinese Corporation and French government funds and shareholdings were introduced, simultaneously reducing the Peugeot family influence.  This quasi-political manouevring rather mirrors that experienced by the ‘British Leyland Motor Corporation’ and predecessors experienced from the 1950’s onward.   Fortunately, stability now reigns and it is hoped this will be permanent.

Current major car/LCV brands held by Peugeot include Citroen, DS, Vauxhall, Opel (Vopel) and it is currently rumoured that following recent structural problems at Fiat Group, additional brand(s) could be integrated into Peugeot.  Observers still have difficulty in justifying the purchase of Vopel from General Motors in the short term, and are thus mystified about the worth of the Fiat rumours.  Vopel brings additional unused production capacity and suggests Peugeot could have plans to in due course rationalise production into the more responsive and cost-efficient plants.

The current CEO (Carlos Tavares) was parachuted into the Peugeot Group following the latest re-structuring referred to above.  Sweeping changes have been made to model profitability and initially loss-leaders were axed - primarily the much-loved RCZ, 208cc and 308cc models.  Factory closures have ensued, and productives trimmed towards international standards - limited often within French employment standards.  The result has been a swift return to profitability, but it has to be said this appears to be fragile although improving, despite industry and economic down-trends.

Brands and Brand Equity

Citroen (in Edit and process)

DS (in Edit and process)

Peugeot (in Edit and process)

Vauxhall-Opel (in Edit and process)

Distribution Networks - UK

Manufacturer/brand operations are generally keeping their physical distance from retailers.  A number of direct ‘sales’ sites via the internet including social media in which finance schemes and ‘special editions’ are push-sold.  Sales are channelled through local dealers after the transaction price is virtually set in stone - thus insulating PSA from the vagaries of used car trading and the retail customer who is still typically regarded as ‘dirty’ despite talking ‘at’ them via social media.

At retailer level, a complex and uneasy mix of competing solus dealers, small dealer groups and Succursales (PSA - owned retail outlets operating ambivalently towards inde owners within their own networks and using pricing techniques unavailable to struggling retailers).  Service points would appear to be a logical and simple customer convenience but do not appear to be supported in the UK, although this is done in the home market.

Retailer (physical) standards of traditional character are vigorously enforced which has caused too many dealer defections in important markets, leaving market share withering on the vine.  Buyers need to consider the complexity/cost of reaching franchised service points, and the frequency which could be higher than average.

Customer Experience

The following opinions are taken from analysis of customer interviews, our own Omnibus Survey data, discussions with independent service shops and dealer groups, thus generalised trends are discernable from this data.  They should still not however be considered to be exhaustive.

Retail coverage and quality has led to too many retail and fleet customer defections from the mainstream Peugeot and Citroen brands.  This is coupled with real and rumoured product quality and reliability concerns.  This is particularly focused upon unreliable electronics and a fragile range of in-house engines co-designed alternately with Ford and BMW.  Through this collaboration (Genesis) customer engines are (or were) supplied in significant volumes to Tata and Geely group brands - both of which have now made alternative arrangements following brand ownership changes.