Citroen UK’s new MD is bracing its dealer network for more customers to interact and purchase cars online.
Speaking to Car Dealer at Robins & Day’s recently revamped West London super site, new boss Eurig Druce said he’s driving a step change in the way the business’s ethos, which includes more online tools for customers.
‘In February we were back of the grid for digital tools,’ he said, ‘but now I would say we’ve accelerated really hard in this period and we’re amongst some of the leaders.
‘We have a virtual showroom, we have live chat, and we have the ability to see what’s in stock, reserve and crucially buy a vehicle end-to-end online – that’s a huge step forward and has come as the demand for that level of service has increased.
‘We’re always there for our customers – we have a digital presence but we also have fantastic showrooms like this one.’
Druce admitted that the vast majority of customers still prefer interaction with dealers and seeing the vehicle before buying, and that online transactions – whether of new or used cars – are still a small proportion of total sales.
‘I’m unsure how fast this transition to digital will take, but we’ve got to make sure we’re ready and we’re well positioned to deliver for what the customer wants,’ he said.
Along with launching new online tools, Druce said he is changing the culture within the French brand’s UK operations to better deal with challenges and have a happier dealer network.
He said that lockdown had been an opportunity to ‘look at the detail’ and work with its retailers.
‘We launched “Team Citroen” in February,’ he said. ‘I’m a big rugby fan and in rugby you don’t win in the scrum with one individual – you win as a team.
‘We’ve had our challenges, especially with the NFDA survey, so I wanted to correct the ethos and have a team spirit and working together to overcome challenges. There’s a whole road of improvements we need to make to drive forwards together.’
Druce took over the helm from Karl Howkins in January, after previously being sales director for the French brand.
He told Car Dealer that since beginning the role it’s been ‘a challenging year’ but is excited about future plans, which include launching 11 new products in the next 16 months.
You can watch the whole interview by clicking the video at the top of this story
Also on Car Dealer Live – take a look inside Robins & Day’s new super Peugeot, Citroen and DS showroom