The Peugeot-Citroen group (PSA) believes that its upcoming range of products and a much stronger focus on customer care will see it shed the often negative perception of French car reliability.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Frankfurt motor show yesterday, Citroen’s head of product, Xavier Peugeot (a member of the Peugeot family), said that quality should underpin every product coming from the French group.
“You can’t build credible product if its not based on a robust basis and this robust basis is definitely quality.” Peugeot told CarAdvice when asked if the group had any concrete plans to improve actual and perceived reliability.
“I think we will have the benefit of the PSA improvement of all the strong messages and experience from Carlos Travis (PSA CEO), to optimise all the PSA processes and therefore the basis of our products, should it be Citroen or other brands of the group. It will be at a higher level and will enable us to connect our brand message to them. I feel confident about it.”
From a local perspective, the brand’s distributor in Australia, Sime Darby, says it has made customer care a core focus since taking over from Ateco automotive in 2013.
“Customer care also goes hand in hand with perception [of reliability]. We are putting a lot of focus and effort on customer care, how we deal with our customers and how they relate with our dealers and taking care of any issues when they do arise.” The brand’s public relations & communications manager, Tyson Bowen, told CarAdvice.
“So in the time that we have taken over it has been a solid focus. An unhappy customer tells many, a happy customer doesn’t tell so many, so if we can look after those people and really make them feel like their purchase has been validated, it’s half the struggle.”
Australia is the only market in the world that offers an unlimited kilometre six-year warranty on a new Citroen, double the duration of what the brand offers in its home market.
Nonetheless, the extended warranty, which came in to effect in March 2014, appears to have not had as significant an impact as the brand may have hoped, with Citroen sales for the first eight months of 2015 just five units ahead of the same period in 2014.