New car marketNewsDealerprofileUsed caranalysisInsight:RecruitmentPeugeot UKNewsdigestNew car newsWhich is why, he said, Peugeot is also building focus on the underlying profitability of the network through aftersales retention and new customer conquest.Last year the carmaker started doing 'prospect satis-faction research'. Customers who didn't buy are contacted within seven days to find out about their expe-rience. Dealers are given feedback a day later, and the research analysis is leading to process and skills improvements. Peugeot's field team is working with dealers to see if some of the prospects can be rescued. Test-drive ratios are strong - spontaneous offer of test-drive is at 96% - which Peugeot sees as vital in converting consumers to its new models. An online demonstrator booking system has increased efficiency, and Zimmerman said the momentum must be main-tained. Much emphasis is on the skills of test-drive conversion and product presentation to ensure the features and technology are properly explained and consumer's buying signals are identified.Zimmerman is continuing to reduce Peugeot's pres-ence in the short-cycle fleet and national daily rental sector. It's a sector which helps get cars experienced by consumers and generates nearly new cars for retailers, but overdependence poses a risk for the retail business and residual values, he said. In 2011 around 8,000 fewer units went into that sector.However, he believes true fleet and business is an area to make money from. Most dealers recognise there's an opportunity in selling to businesses, he said, and it's up to them how aggressively they deal with it. Motability will remain an important sales channel too.For aftersales retention, Peugeot is testing a fixed price service offer for cars aged three to seven - an area where retention is weak - and encourages the sale of monthly-paid service plans, but won't support free ones.Peugeot has a goal to be compared with Volkswagen by 2020 in terms of quality and customer experience. Its ongoing challenge is to lift the awareness of its brand and product potential. Marketing director Morgan Lecoupeur said Peugeot's strategy of 'premiumisation' is linked to marketing focused on demonstrating the raised quality and premium features of its cars while promoting them as fun and desirable. Advertising began in March centred on halo models such as RCZ and 3008 and Peugeot's technological advances such as the diesel hybrid, and a pre-launch campaign for 208, which uses a tagline of 'let your body drive', includes an interactive website and data gathering exercises. The premiumisation also applies to how Peugeot interacts with its retail network and the car markets, and how the network interacts with customers. Communication has improved, offers are clearer and more consistent, and benefits are being seen in CSI scores and in car resale values, said Zimmerman. Carmaker looks to raise the stakesPeugeot 208Morgan Lecoupeur
By Adrian Rushmoremanaging editor, Glass'sTrying to characterise a typical retail customer this year is quite challenging. However, there are buying traits that have changed very little over the last 18 months. These include the obvious, such as the purchase price, make/model, and economy (both fuel and runn-ing costs).Most franchised dealers are convinced that retail customers have been migrating from new, to nearly new and used, not just to save money, but because a new car is less justifiable during periods of austerity. Also, there has been a strong inclination to keep finance payments similar, even though this probably means a compromise with smaller size, or a greater age of car. Brand snobbery still seems to be alive and well, and there is a strong appeal for those products that are the latest offering to make an appearance in the used car market. This is particularly true for the Range Rover Evoque, with nearly new examples changing hands at very close to list price. The pocket-sized SUVs in the shape of the
Audi Q3 and the BMW X1 have also attracted a lot of attention from retail buyers, but it is less clear whether this is because they have 'stand out' looks, or because they are compact in size.While the latest generation of Kia Sportage will not attract the brand conscious it does offer a large measure of individual appeal. The Citroën C-Crosser is also worth a mention because its unique styling gives it an identity in the overcrowded lower medium sector with lots of very similar offerings. This sense that customers still want to be individual is also reflected in the strong demand for some models that are more mature in age. Examples are varied, but would include Mini, Mk 5 Golf, Fiat 500, Chrysler 300C, Audi A2, Alfa Mito, Smart Fortwo and Subaru Impreza. The Golf appears to be a very acceptable trade down from a Mercedes, BMW, or Audi, because of a perception that a Golf is synonymous with middle England society. The Mini (more in two door saloon and convertible body styles), Fiat 500, Alfa Mito, and Smart all share similar virtues Used car analysisCustomers need to be given a good reason to buyBuyers look to switch from new to used and are taking longer to return to the marketAdrian Rushmore'The sense that customers still want to be individual is reflected for some models that are more mature in age'