Strong interest shown in new Citroën Dealerships
Citroën South Africa was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Citroën France at the beginning of 2010. By the end of 2011 a network of 14 dealers had been opened. These grew to 19 by the end of 2012.
The Target for 2013, is 25 with 30 outlets being planned for 2014 according to studies done by Tertius Cronje, General Manager Dealer Development at Citroën SA.
“There is keen interest being shown in obtaining Citroën dealership franchises in South Africa” says Cronje.
“Experience in the motor industry, suitable facilities and access to capital is advantageous for a candidate considering a franchise, but we do not rule out successful entrepreneurs with a good business background and adequate capital resources” he added.
“Going forward, the focus is on looking at medium capacity dealer groups as well as independents to expand the total Dealership tally to the targeted 30 outlets” said Cronje.
The new Citroën Dealerships established in 2012 include Bloemfontein, West Rand, Montana, Pretoria North and Centurion.
Other areas for which potential investors are being considered are Richards Bay, Helderberg in the Cape, Bedfordview, North West province and the Witbank/Middelburg area in Mpumalanga.
The next dealership being added to the Citroën network is located in George. This is a standalone Citroën facility which is independently owned and will open its doors in April 2013.
A wide range of support is given to new dealers, including financial assistance with items such as corporate identity. Extensive training programmes are given on all aspects of the operation and the company is currently forging ahead with negotiations to set up its own financing house.
A new development currently being introduced into Citroën dealerships is the DS Zone. This is a store-in-store facility for the Citroën DS-Line models. The Centurion dealer is being used as a pilot for this new global project.
Further DS Zones will be rolled out in Montana, Fourways and Woodmead before the programme is extended to other dealers in Gauteng, Durban, Cape Town and the Eastern Cape.
Many systems are in place to supply back-up to the Dealer network, including a call centre for roadside assistance. Most of the support systems are web-based with a secure path and include the facility for rapid response should a dealer require help in solving a problem.
Parts supply is housed in a modern warehouse in Linbro Park, with a 92% first pick to fill dealer orders. Parts are delivered countrywide within 24 hours, while Gauteng dealers get deliveries up to four times a day.
“We also make use of the company’s experiential test drive events, Citroën Drive, which are offered to fleet owners and potential customers’’ says Cronje. These practical test drive events are held quarterly at the Gerotek test centre, west of Pretoria, and not only gives potential dealers the opportunity to be exposed to our product but gives us the opportunity of discussing the franchise and its requirements with them.” he concluded.