Peugeot Citroën South Africa says it plans to "revolutionise" the way people can buy cars in South Africa with its new "E-Sales Centre".
More than a year ago, the local arm of the French group introduced its "We Come To You" test-drive campaign.
But now, says Francis Harnie, the managing director of Peugeot Citroën South Africa, the brand is entering the second stage of this programme, with the opening of an E-Sales Centre.
"Taking this step forward, we have to look at new ways of doing business. More and more people shop online, and we need to realign our business operation to be able to meet this demand," said Harnie.
"Our website gets a substantial amount of traffic, showing public interest in our products. Survey statistics recently revealed that in this day and age, a customer physically visits only two dealers before making their buying decision, whereas in the past many more dealers were visited."
The CEO further explained that the E-Sales centre will be staffed by "highly trained personnel who will respond quickly to digital enquiries by telephoning the potential buyer". Their sole objective, according to Harnie, is to make life easier for all existing and potential buyers.
The centre will be able to provide a full service, including arranging a test-drive, handling the trade-in, and providing information of all aspects of the deal, including finance and insurance. "Affordable and set prices" will be quoted that include licensing and other on-road costs.
While Peugeot Citroën SA says its dealer network will "remain an important part of our future business in South Africa", the role that the dealers play will change.
Dealers will still make their own sales, however, and their businesses could benefit from the additional leads and qualified customers obtained through the centre. They will also be involved in taking trade-ins and then retailing these cars, besides continuing to benefit from providing parts and servicing.
"We believe that we have made huge strides to change the perception of Peugeot in the eyes of South African motorists by being competitive with pricing while staying in line with competitors. Our greatest intention is to ensure that each and every customer is placed exclusively in the middle of all interactions that he or she experiences with our brand, thereby, creating an exclusive and delightful customer experience," said Harnie.