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Peugeot PHL sets records under new distributor

THE NEW management at Peugeot Philippines is reaping the rewards of its earnest efforts to revitalize the French automaker’s business in the country.

In a release, the Astara-led distributor said it has set “record retail sales,” complemented by a rapid addition of new dealerships, and the steady release of models to beef up Peugeot’s revamped local portfolio.

Year on year, the company’s overall vehicle sales spiked by 89% in the first quarter — driven by the new Peugeot 5008 and new Peugeot 3008, launched in January and February, respectively.

Meanwhile, the dealership network will soon number seven, with the imminent opening of four new facilities: Peugeot Alabang (operated by Automotive Icon, Inc.), Peugeot Balintawak (ANC Group), Peugeot Cebu (Gateway Group), and Peugeot Davao (Angcore Group). “All four dealerships are currently building their new showrooms, which are expected to open within the second half of the year,” said the distributor.

Stressed Peugeot Philippines Managing Director Raoul Picello, “We continue to make progress with our plans since relaunching the brand in January, and this momentum is being driven by our lineup of global Peugeot vehicles that is allowing us to become a premium auto brand of choice for Filipinos.

“Together with our growing dealer family, we remain fully committed to making the Peugeot brand accessible to more Filipinos nationwide, allowing us to better serve them and their needs.”

It could be recalled that, in an exclusive interview with “Velocity,” Mr. Picello had said he envisions Peugeot back in the consideration set of Filipino vehicle browsers. “That’s what we want: to be in the radar.” He added, “Until three months ago, we were not in the radar at all. Part of that is brand awareness. We are spending a lot more in communication — and products. And for that I am confident that we have a proposition for the year, and we are still working toward introducing even more new models. The network is a fundamental pillar of the strategy this year, and then the customer handling processes. That’s also a key area of strategic focus of our business.”

The executive explained then that he believes there are “various opportunities” presenting themselves. “With the cars we will launch this year, we will be present in a much bigger, larger share of the market. However, to be there with one version is not enough. We need more versions and that’s what we are working toward.”

Joining the 5008, 3008, and Traveller, Peugeot Philippines just last week unveiled the new 2008 SUV. The compact five-seater SUV is set to do battle in a particularly competitive (and lucrative) segment and price point. Coming in four colors (Amazonite Grey, Pearl White, Nera Black and the model-exclusive color Fusion Orange), the crossover is priced at P1.55 million.

Commented Peugeot Philippines Brand Head Maricar Parco in a statement, “The new Peugeot 2008 completes our SUV lineup for the Philippines alongside the 5008 and 3008. All three SUVs give Filipinos access to the unmatched experience that our Peugeot global SUVs offer, in three size options that meet the varying needs and lifestyles of our customers.”

The 2008 is assembled at the Stellantis-owned manufacturing plant in Gurun, Malaysia, which helps to explain its very competitive pricing. Powering the vehicle is an award-winning turbocharged 1.2-liter PureTech mill delivering 130hp and 230Nm. The performance promise is accessed through a “quick shifting” six-speed automatic transmission. Peugeot notes that “all vehicles built at the Stellantis manufacturing plant in Gurun undergo specific endurance and quality testing in Malaysia, to deliver best-in-class performance for local conditions and to meet the needs of customers in Southeast Asia.” The 2008 has specifically logged 200,000 kilometers of testing in diverse conditions.

Ms. Parco had previously stated that the firm is looking at releasing four models this year, and the 2008 is now the fourth in as many months. Launching vehicles, said Mr. Picello during the aforementioned “Velocity” interview, “will be the activity of 2022,” adding, “but I want to bring in more versions also of these models which are equally important. I cannot say anything because we still don’t have certainties.”

The executive expressed then that his own wish list for Peugeot releases here would “obviously (include) a pickup.” He commented, “It’s approximately 20% of the market in the Philippines so that would be interesting. And then what we call in Europe as light commercial — that also is important. And that could present opportunities. Stellantis is very strong globally in the commercial vehicles area; probably, it is the strongest group in that segment. And that is also where we’d like to see opportunities. But again, everything has to come gradually. The network has to grow, products will arrive. There are no overnight miracles.” — Kap Maceda Aguila