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Interview: Citroen UK’s MD Linda Jackson

Time 6:47 am, August 20, 2013

5124Linda Jackson, Citroen’s UK MD, chats to Car Dealer about her aspirations for the new French MPV.

Why is the new C4 Picasso so important for dealers?

It’s very important for them because if we look at the volume of the C4 Picasso in its prime years, we were selling 21,000 of them and fifty per cent of those went through the dealer network – it’s a major player for us. We’re renowned for our MPVs. Picasso is almost our DNA and it’s so important as it gives us the ability to talk to our customers and renew them. There is also big parc our there of existing customers as well.

The market for MPVs is shrinking, with buyers being drawn to crossovers. Why have you continued with this market segment?

It is shrinking, though there is still a market there and we believe we can sell this car. It offers something a little bit different a lot more creative technology for the family. We think we have a good proposition. It’s not just families these days interested in MPVs but grandparents who want to carry their grandchildren. In fact, when we look at the demographics of who actually buys a C4 Picasso, there is quite a high percentage of those who are empty nesters.

How many C4 Picassos do you think you’re going to sell in the UK in its first year?

In the first year we are aiming to sell 6,000 and that compares with previous model generation, which sold around 5,500 in its first year. This is of course for the five-seater model. The seven-seater is coming in January, and when I talked about the 21,000 cars sold, that is five- and seven- seat models combined.

Earlier this year you told us you were looking to sell a similar amount of cars to 2012 and focus on brand image. Is that still your position?

What we want to do is to get to about a five per cent market share. We think that is about right for the size of the market we are currently in, making it profitable for both our 184 dealers and ourselves. So at the end of May we are at 4.3 per cent, so we are well on our way, and we want to do it by very sustainable volume, by retail and small business volume. And it’s really that sort of volume we want to grow because it’s so important for our dealer network.

What’s the big news for Citroen for the rest of this year?

The car launches on the July 3, so it’s really important for us that we get our dealers really bought into the vehicle. They’ll be doing their training and we’ll be doing some previews with dealers in June as well. So the big thing for us at the moment is launching C4 Picasso and continuing the momentum we’ve got in terms of market share.

What plans do you have for the DS range and keep momentum going with that?

The DS range represents 30 per cent of our total volume. It used to be 11 per cent in 2009-10. Between 30 and 33 per cent is round about where we want to be because we don’t want to forget the C-range. In terms of changing DS, we won’t be, but we will be focusing on DS3, introducing more funky colours, creating some special editions, that sort of thing, to animate the line.

Find out what we thought about the Citroen C4 Picasso

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