Posted on Monday 22 November 2010 byUlster Business
Peugeot's UK Managing Director Jon Goodman tells Ulster Business how the brand is going about regaining market share in Northern Ireland and how sales in the province are outperforming Great Britain
The motor industry is making a steady comeback after being hammered in the recession, and Peugeot is among the brands seeing a return to growth after the volatility of the past few years.
Its UK managing director Jon Goodman was in Belfast recently for one of his twice-yearly open forum meetings with Peugeot's 13-strong dealer network in Northern Ireland.
He says the performance in 2010 has been particularly encouraging in the province, benefiting both from new products and strong sales of models such as its 107 and 207 as consumer's favour smaller, fuel efficient cars.
"We've got a very strong dealer network here, who have been through some tough times as we have as a brand, but we said at the start of the year that 2010 was about getting back to growth and what we've seen from them is exactly that.
"In Northern Ireland we are up 25% year on year which is a great performance. The market's up by 7%, we're up by 25% and we now have just over 7% of car and van sales, which is a great performance," says Goodman.
"The intention is to keep growing. We used to take 10% market share in Northern Ireland and the intention for us is to increase in the next three years. We've got some exciting new products and off the back of that we expect to deliver an increasing share of the UK and Northern Ireland market."
Sales in the van market are up 63% this year in a static market, giving Peugeot a 7% market share. Goodman says that bodes well for the future, as growth in vans tends to precede growth in cars by 6-8 months.
"For me it is the barometer of what's really going on in the economy, because it is a non-emotional purchase," he explains. "It is quite a good sign for me that the underlying business market will be fairly robust over the next 12 to 18 months."
Goodman, 46, joined the company in 1986 and held a series of senior management posts across the UK and Europe before becoming MD for UK operations in June last year.
He believes the company now has its product mix right after launching three new models this year – the sports coupe RCZ, the 3008 SUV/hatchback crossover and the 5008 people carrier.
"They are three brand new cars going into new segments where we haven't been present. A lot of the impetus we've built up in the last 12 months has been on the back of those vehicles. They are attracting people to look at the brand, to reconsider the brand," he says.
"We don't just want to be a small car company. For the RCZ, 75% of people buying that car are conquest customers who have never considered our brand before."
To meet the demand for lower emission vehicles Peugeot is also this year launching its iOn electric car and continues to develop increasingly efficient standard and diesel hybrids – which Goodman thinks could make up 20% of the market in five years time.
"We are aiming for a new product every six months for the next two to three years, which means we will have the youngest range we've ever had and the broadest range we've ever had. That's an exciting prospect for us and the dealers."
While the Peugeot MD acknowledges that the small and light medium car segments are its core areas of strength, he says it is important for the brand to build up its share of medium sized cars and the business fleet markets in order to compete best in a market where the number of companies selling cars has vastly increased from 15 years ago.
"The days of there being bad cars on the market are gone, all manufacturers offer a good product and so how your brand is perceived is absolutely critical. One of the jobs we've got to do is get the brand awareness up. We've had a good 12 months, people are changing their perspective of how they view the Peugeot brand and we've got to maintain that," he adds.
"We have to continue to grow, because whatever sector you are in, no company has ever increased its brand image while moving backwards in market share."