Unlike its French rival Renault, Peugeot has no plans to abandon Motability and will maintain a “controlled presence” in daily rental, although its new UK MD Tim Zimmerman admitted that “throttling back” from short-cycle fleet business cost the brand around 7000 sales last year.

Zimmerman said: “Motability is proper business, and a good business for us to remain in.

“This year, due to the three-year contract cycles, the market will drop a bit. But we plan to maintain our Motability volume. The scheme offers good, well-maintained cars at the end of the day.

“Handled properly there is nothing wrong with national daily rental and we will maintain our presence.

“The problem arises if you go beyond your natural overall market share in one particular channel.

“We continue to work in a controlled way with Europcar and Avis, but not on a short-term or tactical basis.”

Peugeot’s sales director, Neil Moscrop, said the new 208 supermini, due for a June sales release, was “an absolute priority for increasing fleet content” with the supermini sector now being “more significant in the corporate context” than upper medium models.

He claimed the 208, smaller externally but larger inside than the 207, fitted into Peugeot’s brand “premiumisation” and included a 99g/km CO2-rated 1.0-litre, three-cylinder model aimed at public service fleets.

Moscrop also maintained that fleets would consider highly specified 208s as alternatives to entry-level Audi A1s and Minis.

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