Citroën’s trajectory in the South African market continues to be an upward one, and the start of 2011 saw the introduction of innovative new products aimed at provide a complete ownership experience.
Called Freedrive, this optional extra enables the buyer of a new Citroën to convert their service plan (standard on all models with the exception of the entry-level C1) to a full maintenance plan at point of sale.
As part of Freedrive, the warranty is also extended to the same distance and time levels, leaving the consumer with comprehensive five-year/100 000 km cover which extends to everything on the car.
“There is still a mindset prevalent in the marketplace that Citroën is an expensive brand to own in the long term,” explains Citroën South Africa’s managing director, Didier Gerard. “This is reflected in surveys which reveal motoring consumers consider our parts prices and parts availability to be weaknesses, and various imported French brands are viewed in the same light.
“The truth is actually quite different.Parts surveys such as the Kinsey Report show that our pricing has become highly competitive in the last year, while our own work on speeding up delivery to our 15 dealerships shows a dramatic improvement too.
In industry-speak, we have a service ratio of 92 percent on ‘first-pick’ which simply means that we can supply 92 percent of dealer orders immediately at our first attempt.”
In these instances where a car can’t be repaired immediately and the vehicle is still under warranty, Citroën’s Mobility plan will supply the customer with a loan car where possible.
Citroën’s dealer network services or repairs about 2 500 cars a month and on average only 60 of these jobs are delayed due to non-availability of parts.
The extended warranty, maintenance plan upgrade, and loan car availability all form part of the Citroën Commitments umbrella, a cluster of value-adding perks which ensure owning a Citroën is a highly pleasurable experience.
“These innovations will not only go a long way to dispelling the notion that there’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to owning a Citroën, but add real value to the purchase by pegging long-term costs.
Fleet buyers look very carefully at the total cost of ownership, and parts prices and availability can also impact tremendously on insurance premiums.
“These developments will put us on a path to achieve our target of new vehicle sales this year . Our range of light commercials will allow us to reach a far greater share of the total market and contribute to that success.
“We’re well on the way to regaining the confidence of current and prospective buyers, and are close to a point where the quality of the ownership experience and the physical qualities of the product converge,” concluded Gerard.