Quality is the key to Peugeot’s future success in the UK and the aim is for the French brand to be considered the “best high end generalist”. That’s what Peugeot UK managing director David Peel told BusinessCar at the Paris motor show.

“We’ve not been performing to the levels we should in the fleet channels,’ Peel said. ‘We now have the right channel mix but in the past we haven’t been able to make the most of the quality of our cars, such as the 308 that’s the third best-selling car in Europe but not in the UK. With the arrival of the new 3008 and 5008 models, we are going to work very hard in 2017 to reinvigorate our fleet position. It’s our ambition to be the best high end generalist by 2021.”

As part of this goal, Peel acknowledges that Peugeot RVs in the UK have not performed well. He commented: “We’ve often started from the back of the pack with RVs, so the prime focus for us today is to rebuild the RV position. That will have a very clear and positive effect for our fleet business.”

With his background as fleet director of Peugeot UK and before that retail sales, Peel has made it his mission to pulling the company’s network together. Part of this has included talking to dealers in language they can understand, not forcing dealers to pre-register cars and going back to basics with the fleet business to make sure the approach is right.

Peel said: “I’m in a unique position with the trust of the company in the UK and at head office in Paris to reset our RVs and rebuild the brand by doing everything properly, whether that’s customer facing or behind the scenes. I’ve been asked how long this will take – will it be a year? Well, I was in my last job for seven years, so I intend to have consistency and I know that will help with doing business with fleets.”

A network plan forms a core element of Peel’s strategy. He added: “Do we have an ambition to grow our network? No. We want every dealer to be profitable and that means engaging with SME fleets. We have 50 dealers who are dedicated Business Centres, but that means the many of our other 160 dealers are not active at all.

To address this, we have spoken to every sales person to demystify SME and LCV sales. Peugeot will have an LCV display at every site in the UK. So, yes, we are going after SME business aggressively. We’ still retain our specialist Business Centres for the more complicated elements of fleet and SME, and we shall increase the number of these to 75. For Peugeot, this is a huge opportunity.”