We start by asking Greg if he’s identified any areas in fleet that he wants Citroen to focus on – even though he’s only been in the job since January this year. He tells us a lot of the residual value work has been done, so his job is now to consistently manage that.

He says: “Citroen had a problem with residual values, but now most of the cars are towards the top of their segments and that has come about through our ‘Fair Pricing’ and channel management over the last two years.

“For the past 18 months, the whole industry has been working in a ‘bubble’ environment.  It’s not a real environment, and now we’re coming out of that, so of course as supply increases, the challenges are different. I have an objective in the UK to grow the market share of Citroen. My job is ultimately to bring this to a 3% plus market share for cars and vans combined. Our van performance is pretty good, but where I see the opportunity is with the car range.

“We don’t index as well in fleet as the industry, and the stats bear that out through
the course of the brand’s history. So, it’s where we need to get better. 

“We will have an opportunity to do that through the breadth and scale of Stellantis. It’s a strategic position to use the power of multiple brands, operating in multiple segments and covering multiple bases to be able to leverage that weight in the industry. Then, in turn open some doors that as a smaller group or as a standalone brand where you might not be afforded the opportunity. 

“Citroen has quite a clear position within Stellantis, it doesn’t really touch or come close to what some of our other brands are doing. We don’t have a Russian Doll of brands – they’re all quite distinct makes. Citroen has a clear identity, a clear direction of travel, it’s clear about what it wants to be, and ultimately has a strong product range that we’ve had for a long time. 

“Electric vehicles are going to be interesting this year, with the energy crisis and cost of living, weighing heavy on buyers’ minds. If you compare the UK to other countries across Europe, in terms of support mechanisms in place, they don’t really exist in this country anymore – short of the corporate sector and the Benefit in Kind (BiK) benefits. This is where the focus needs to be with the EV range.  

“We’ve got a good opportunity in fleet for the E-C4 X, it’s got a low P11D value for starters, there’s an opportunity to take this car into the taxi market – which is quite a high-cost sector. 

“As you start to see Chinese EVs entering the UK market as well, the wariness that I certainly had, was they would come in and massively undercut established European players, but so far that’s not been the case. So, if you look at where the E-C4 X is positioned in the market, it’s very competitive compared to its European counterparts, and to the Chinese.”

Taylor tells us there’s more competition for fleet business this year compared to last. He tells me the strength of Stellantis in terms of its scale, is going to enable Citroen to continue to compete strongly.

He says: “If you look back, we had Brexit, then we had Covid, then we had the semiconductor shortage, and the logistics problem across the whole of Europe. For the first time in well over a decade, money and the cost-of-living crisis is something that we’re all talking about. Energy costs keep going up, so we have an economic impact now – the first time since the financial crisis. We’ve come through all these difficult patches that the industry has had to navigate, now supply is generally improving, we’re hit with a slight softening in demand – it’s not just in automotive, it’s in retail too. In general people have less money to spend. 

“Fleet could potentially take up that demand, but you’ve got to have the confidence with business to invest as well. They’re not immune to the economic impact as well. Where Citroen is right now, and the way we’re looking to run the brand this year – this is an opportunity for us. 

“A value – not a cheap proposition, is a good opportunity for Citroen to position itself competitively within this marketplace. It is a chance to grow the brand in the context of the environment that we live in over the next year or so.

“With Citroen, you are getting all the technology, you’re getting all the advanced powertrains, and you’re getting some things you don’t get in other cars. You’re getting
more comfort for example. You’re getting a more serene experience – that is where we will make a difference this year.” 

Taylor tells us Stellantis is obviously in quite an advanced state for EVs, versus some of the competition.

He says: “I would say for Citroen specifically, this is why we’re debuting cars like OLI, that very much is the future vision of Citroen and yes, it’s electric. Stellantis has declared moving forward, that we have ambition to meet the requirement to be electrified before government deadlines come into place. We operate in the EU, and it has some of the toughest legislation in the world, so if we’re going to continue to sell cars here, we obviously need to adhere to this legislation. So yes, we are well set up for it. 

“I think what’s most interesting about Citroen. We are being afforded the opportunity to come to market offering enough of what a consumer needs in our opinion, in a car. So, it means making sure that the car’s weight is kept down in the future. It means using recyclable materials in the future. It means not carrying  all the technology that is available on the market as it again adds weight and consumes battery power – but being in tune with customers. 

“Electric cars are expensive, there is a way to manage that though by making sure
customers are buying what they need. That’s important because if we don’t do that, if we’re not positioning the car, if we’re not providing a value proposition – then people can’t afford it and we won’t sell it! That’s where Citroen has a great opportunity moving forwards and you’re already seeing that with our ‘Fair Pricing,’ you see where the cars are sitting in the marketplace – we’re already on that journey. OLI points to our future direction, when we launch future models over the next two to three years, you will start to see, what we’ve presented to the world in OLI, manifest itself in real-life products that you can buy.”

As far as the fleet market is concerned, Taylor tells us they’re assessing Citroen’s brand performance within the context of the industry average across all the fleet channels.

He says: “There are some areas of the fleet market where I see a good opportunity to take the brand – Motability being one of those. Then the breadth of Stellantis, and the ability to open doors with our fleet teams is where we will be looking. I would like to see Citroen win more big corporate business. I feel we have the proposition to win that now – and that’s about getting in front of people, and making sure they’re aware of the product and what it has to offer. 

“It is my job to make sure that Citroen is clear in the fleet teams’ minds, and how we are differentiated from our other brands. It is not my job to win business from Vauxhall or Peugeot, it is my job to win business from the wider industry and we need to be quite careful doing that – because we are quite different.”