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by Tim Beissmann

Sime Darby Motors Group has taken over distribution rights of Citroen in Australia.

The change of management sees Citroen join sister company Peugeot under the same roof in Australia and ends an 18-year partnership between the French marque and previous distributor Ateco Automotive.

Sime Darby managing director Rob Dommerson said he was excited to add Citroen to the group’s umbrella alongside Peugeot, Corefleet and Porsche Centre Parramatta.

“The brand has great heritage around the world and, given the connection of Citroen and Peugeot globally, it made sense to bring the two brands together here in Australia as the distributor,” Dommerson said.

While Citroen and Peugeot will operate in the same building, the two will have separate sales and marketing teams.

Former Proton managing director John Statari (above) has been appointed general manager of Citroen Automobiles Australia.

The 28-year industry veteran said the synergy between Citroen and Peugeot would help the company provide better levels of service to customers through shared resources and parts.

Statari said the new distributor’s focus in the initial phase was to rationalise its model line-up, simplify its pricing structure and build the dealer network, while paying particular attention to the DS range.

Citroen Automobiles Australia will start operating out of 20 dealerships across the country, and is currently in negotiations to expand the network.

In its last year under Ateco, Citroen sold 1702 vehicles in Australia – up 20 per cent over 2011, spearheaded by the Citroen C4, which climbed 50 per cent to 550 sales. That figure is still a long way short of the brand’s record of 3803 units in 2007, when the previous-generation C4 dominated with 1516 sales.

Peugeot sales declined three per cent last year to 5071 units.




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