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Peugeot: 308 to lead residual value uplift

Date: 14 November 2013   |   Author:

The new 308, launching late this year, is crucial to Peugeot's plans to throttle back on its daily rental volumes and set the brand up for long-term improvements in residual values, according to UK fleet boss Phil Robson.

Robson wants to appeal to drivers that are choosing a new VW Golf, claiming: "With the 308 we can confidently say it's better than a Golf - we have 82g/km and the spec is incredible in comparison, plus we have reduced the weight and improved interior quality and driveability.

"I'm confident to say that because I've driven a Golf for four weeks - the Golf is a great car to drive but the 308 is better," Robson continued.

"The only thing that is not better at this time is the RV." He claimed the RV difference between an old 308 and a Golf was £3000, and that the gap has closed to £900 with the new 308.

"To expect an RV at the same level would be ridiculous - the Golf has an incredible legacy, but it will do 62,000 [units] next year, Focus will do 90,000 and the 308 17,000," he said. "We're not caught on the gravy train of oversupply we think some of our competitors are."

The daily rental numbers for Peugeot next year will drop to around 5000 from 8500 in 2013, with Robson hailing a change in mentality compared with the previous times the firm has tried to limit its short-cycle business.

"We were overexposed and had challenges with some of our cars not being the most exciting or dynamic, so to support sales we had to use daily rental," Robson admitted.

"This year is the break point because our vehicles are so new. We need to protect them and give them a good start in life."

He did, though, confess that 2015 and 2016 will see an increase in short-churn business compared with next year: "I think it's inevitable, but we'll manage the increase in daily rental rather than going for it because we can't sell in retail or fleet. That's the time you overexpose yourself in daily rental."

Robson said the conservative target of 17,000 units is partially because the market is changing as buyers look more to crossover vehicles rather than traditional lower medium hatchbacks, a fact borne out by Peugeot twice having to increase the forecast for its new 2008 crossover, with lead times now into February.

"We've not seen the impact of that hit used car buyers yet. That's the challenge and that's why our volumes don't seem highly ambitious when I'm saying it's better than a Golf," explained Robson.

"I personally think there are too many traditional C-segment vehicles in the market to sustain the current RV position."