WHEN was the last time Citroen had a really strong C-segment contender in the corporate sector? Quite.
So when the company launches an SUV – the current must-have sales style – into this sector, it’s a big moment. A whole new opportunity.
The new Citroen C5 Aircross SUV went on sale from February 04, 2019, with a range of diesel and petrol engine options and the choice of 30 combinations. Along with a strong pricing stance: from £23,225 through to £32,725 at the top end.
Neil Hunter, Head of Corporate Sales North for PSA, says that corporate customers so far have been split 50/50 on petrol/diesel sales. But expects the diesel to be the main fleet sales seller.
“We’ve got good news on diesel and CO2,” explains Neil. “We expect the Flair 1.5 Diesel auto to be the key fleet model, and this has emissions of 107g/km. It means company car tax starts from £122 a month. That’s a highly favourable position.”
Hunter says that much of the new Citroen SUV’s appeal is down to strong residual values as the brand grows in stature among leasing companies while the company’s previous distress selling is behind it.
“We’ve done a lot of work on RVs. We took the key influencers to see the car early on in its development and for them to get a handle on what a Citroen looks like in this sector of the market. With that feedback we had from them we’ve worked on the specification to support a strong RV position.”
Hunter points to the fact that over a three year/60,000 mile profile, the C5 Aircross SUV is second strongest on RVs (CAP data) at 42%, one point behind the sector leading Kia Sportage, but well ahead of the Nissan Qashqai (37%) and Ford Kuga (36%).
“We don’t intend to flood vehicles onto the market. We’re anticipating around 8000 vehicles in 2018 with 2000 of those going through the corporate channel.
“We’ve also been keen to position the car appropriately with the leasing companies, so we’ve done all the basics such as P11D, CO2 and BIK. Put all that together and it’s starting to generating interest in the product. All the feedback we’ve had so far is that it’s well positioned for choice lists and for user chooser fleets. That’s where we want to be.
“And it’s difficult to get there because Citroen has not enjoyed a product in this area before. But the new Citroen C5 Aircross SUV does provide something different from other mid-size SUVs. Because it’s slightly larger giving potential user choosers more bang for their buck.”
It seems to be working, though.
“We’ve taken orders for the car already and this has to be a good sign. Although customers have had a price list, they’ve not had a chance to drive the car yet. So things are looking highly positive for the car.”