Dubai: If Peugeot needs a distraction from a weak domestic market and concerns over manufacturing capacities, the French carmaker just needs to look to the Middle East.
It small cars, 208 and 308, have consistently matched the best that the Japanese and other European competitors have thrown at them.
“2013 has been the fourth consecutive year in which Peugeot witnessed double-digit growth in the region,” said Philippe Geze, the manufacturer’s regional head. “In the GCC we will end up with a plus 38 per cent in deliveries to market, with those to Saudi Arabia hitting 68 per cent plus.
“2014 will see us reinforcing this trend, as we will cross the four-digit number of units. It will also witness the start of Phase-3 in Saudi Arabia – we are now present in all major cities, with sales and after-sales centres for general customers, and we will open soon in Jeddah the first regional business centre dedicated to B2B customers.”
It also means that for the first time Gallic marque is seeing traction developing for models other than the 208 and 308. (Not having depth in its model range for the region compared with its rivals, VW for instance, has often raised against Peugeot, and a critique that it wants to dismiss at the earliest.)
The recently launched entry-level 301 sedan has hit the sweet spot, and was followed up with the 508. “We are launching right now the all-new 408 with a powerful 2-litre engine coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox,” said Geze.
“We have listened to our customers and answered the sedan category’s demand.
The 408 will both complement and complete our sedan range, offering what Peugeot has best in its DNA: style, road-holding reliability and generous internal dimensions and roominess.”
“One of the factors Peugeot is keen on and is rolling out is to improve the resale value of the brand’s models. We have laid out the groundwork and working hard on the two dimensions that are strategic to achieve this – perfect after-sale services and a strong focus on the quality of pre-owned cars.”
Regional dealers have already started the process and “structuring pre-owned car showrooms”.