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PSA's future strategy: is the Citroen DS6 coming to Europe?

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Future strategy from Peugeot, Citroen, DS
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D he worst years seem to be behind PPE . In the wake of the economic crisis, the French carmaker with its brands Peugeot and Citroën was hit hard. Sales fell by billions, losses rose astronomically, car sales fell below the three million mark.

PSA sales figures rise

In 2014, PSA scratched it again. The French had 2.939 million vehicles sold worldwide. An increase of 4.3 percent. Makes ninth place among the largest automakers in the world. The increase was particularly strong in China, at 32 percent - partly due to the entry of the Chinese car maker Dongfeng, which gave PSA a boost. PSA sold around 734,000 cars in the Middle Kingdom last year. That corresponds to a quarter of total sales. But there is growth in Europe too. 1.761 million vehicles sold meant an increase of 8.1 percent.

Due to the increasing vehicle sales, PSA improved sales slightly from 53.0 to 53.6 billion euros. In 2011, however, it was still 58.5 billion. So there is still plenty of room for improvement for the group, especially since the loss of 555 million euros has been drastically curbed compared to previous years, but is still very high.

Product portfolio shrinks by 18 vehicles

PSA wants to turn several screws for the future. The product portfolio is to be streamlined, but at the same time new cars are to be brought onto the market. And in Germany, the French want to change the dealer network. One after the other: Without commercial vehicles and cooperation models such as the Citroën C4 Aircross (identical to Mitsubishi ASX), PSA has 45 cars in its range. Too many from the Group's perspective. That's why the French are gradually burying vehicles in the car junkyard. For example the RCZ or 308 CC. Because they don't pay off for the group.

The desired number is 27, of which 13 to 14 should come from the Peugeot warehouse, seven to eight come from Citroën and six from the premium brand DS, which was founded in 2014. 'We have to concentrate on fewer vehicles worldwide and produce better products for them. If we pool our resources and distribute them better, we can expand in all areas, build better engines, transmissions, etc.,' says Albéric Chopelin, General Director of Peugeot Citroën GermanyGmbH.

New DS-SUV and new sedan

However, PSA not only wants to delete models, but also throw new ones on the market. Without being specific, there is talk of an SUV. The French still have some catching up to do in this area. Those responsible get a little more specific when it comes to DS. PSA currently offers DS3, DS3 Cabrio, DS4 and DS5 in Europe. Three more vehicles are to be added in the future. Two of them above the DS5. A sedan and a luxury SUV are in planning. Something like the one that already exists in China with the DS6 WR. 'But there is still space between the DS3, DS4 and DS5. For example, for an SUV', explains Chopelin.

The first completely new DS model is to come in 2017/2018. Also important: PSA no longer wants to design new vehicles for just one, but all markets. A mistake like the one with the DS6 WR or DS5 LS, which were developed only for China, shouldn't be allowed in the future.

But is PSA really doing well with its premium brand DS? After all, you fight specifically against competitors like Audi, BMW and Mercedes. 'In the premium segment, there is no longer any room for creating a new Audi, BMW or Mercedes,' says Chopelin. So a clone doesn't work, what then? 'We analyze the markets very carefully and ask ourselves, for example, why Lexus didn't make it in Germany. For us, it's about finding a niche. We have to do it our way, build a story and offer luxury a la francaise to take care of the details. '

No concrete statements

Chopelin only gives vague references to specifics. DS models shouldn't be off the shelf, should stand out from others through their design, and be cars that not everyone drives. Then he asks the question: 'What does premium mean? Is it all about the sheet metal? Or is there more to it?'

Could mean: Premium should also be linked to the service character. For example, by relieving customers of chores such as a workshop visit by collecting the car and returning it after the repair /inspection. “We just want to find out from customers what they don't like,” Chopelin continues.

With regard to the new structures for Germany, PSA is becoming more tangible. One hopes for a leap forward from the streamlined range and the new vehicles coming soon. 'We are the second largest carmaker in Europe. In Germany, however, we are not living up to this position,' says Chopelin clearly. Although both Peugeot (a total of around 70,000 vehicles) and Citroën (around 62,000 vehicles) together grew by 6.5 percent last year, with a market share of less than two percent each, they are lagging behind expectations.

Peugeot Citroën Germany cuts jobs

What do Peugeot and Citroën Germany want to change? 1. The organization. 2. ThatDealer network. 3. the presentation of the brands. In 2015, Peugeot Citroën Deutschland GmbH will cut 140 of the 400 or so jobs. Because you want to make the structures more efficient. The resources are bundled: for example in marketing, sales, logistics or at events. In order to better manage the three brands under one roof.

Head of Communication Stephan Lützenkirchen jokingly explains: 'I used to only take care of Peugeot in the morning. Now I do Citroën and DS in the afternoons, and then take part in the events . ' The company says that new perspectives have been created for the laid-off employees. For example, you should find a job in the trade or with partner agencies or you should be in early retirement.

Better 'sell' models

On June 1st, Peugeot Commerce GmbH and Citroën Commerce GmbH merged into a unit. The company dealer network now runs under Peugeot Citroën Retail GmbH. Private dealers are not affected by the measure. 48 locations in Germany are now being revised step by step and the three brands are being merged. This is to win customers. If you have three brands on display in a dealership, the hit rate is higher than if you have just one. So far, around 57,000 cars of the total annual volume have been sold at the 48 locations.

In Germany, they also want to improve the presentation of the models. It starts with very banal things. You simplify the price lists and catalogs by throwing out unnecessary equipment. 'In level 1 for the Peugeot 108, for example, there was automatic air conditioning as an option. But it was never taken,' says Chopelin.

'We have to sell our current products better. A Peugeot 308 is no worse than one Golf, Focus, Mégane or Astra, 'says Chopelin confidently. Marketing campaigns have been launched especially for Germany. It is called 'Impress yourself' at Peugeot, 'le charactere' at Citroën. A dynamic and self-confident appearance should be conveyed. Technical achievements should also be transmitted more aggressively. For example, that according to your own statements, the CO2 consumption of your fleet is 112 g /km top in Europe.

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