French carmaker Peugeot claims to have made a dramatic improvement in the quality and reliability of its latest cars, revealing confidential figures that show its warranty costs are a fraction of what they were a decade ago.
In a briefing with media during a recent visit to Australia the global boss of the Peugeot brand, Jean-Philippe Imparato, estimated warranty claims – and the cost of those repairs – had been slashed by two-thirds.
“In the last six years, network detection of quality issues has dropped by two-thirds and so too has the warranty cost,” said Mr Imparato, who added that the French brand is now ranking at the top of the quality charts after years near the bottom.
Indeed, the most recent JD Power quality survey out of the UK – which sources right-hand-drive cars from the same factories that supply Australian models – ranked Peugeot as having the best real-world quality and the least number of customer complaints among a survey of 11,500 owners of vehicles aged between 12 months and three years.
In the faults-per-100 vehicles “dependability” survey of cars Peugeot was number one with the least number of complaints, with a score of 77 problems per 100 cars compared to 90 problems per 100 vehicles for Hyundai, 94 each for Suzuki and Nissan, 101 for Kia, 104 for Ford, 109 for Honda and 113 for Volkswagen.
Curiously, Peugeot’s sister brand Citroen – with 126 faults per 100 vehicles – is yet to make the same improvement even though the jointly-owned French brands share much of their technology.
“We would not be in the situation to have the success we have in Europe (without our current quality standards),” said Mr Imparato. “If (we) want to be worldwide (we) must be in Australia at the right level of quality. That’s why we are fighting at the moment.”
While Peugeot concedes it won’t be able to outsell the Top 10 brands in Australia, it believes it can make in-roads now that the quality of its cars has improved.
“So many competitors are interesting for me in Australia,” said Mr Imparato. “I want to be very humble. As the brand CEO in Australia I’m not saying that we will kill everybody (in the sales race). Volume is a consequence of 'job done'. We don't have any pressure about any kind of volume target in Australia. Just do the job.”
The chairman of the Peugeot-Citroen Group, Carlos Tavares, had previously said he wanted to double sales in the company’s overseas markets, however Australia will likely form only a very small part of that plan given right-hand-drive is just 5 per cent of global volume.