CITROEN has targeted local franchise holder Brooklands Motors Sdn Bhd to sell 500 units of the French car in the first year as the carmaker aims to bring back its heyday.
Brooklands Motors should gradually sell 700 units in the third year as more Citroen models join the line-up, Citroen vice president of international sales and marketing Jean-Louis Chamla said.
“Our target is 500 units for a full year of operation and we hope to increase step by step in order to reach more than 700 vehicles in the third year,” Chamla said during his one-day visit to Citroen regional headquarters and Brooklands Motor’s facility in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday.
“Our target is realistic, taking into consideration the size of the European CBU (completely built-up) segment in Malaysia,” he added.
Citroen finally has new models for the Malaysian market after three years with the launch of the C6 luxury sedan and Grand C4 Picasso multi-purpose vehicle in August.
This has ignited the carmakers hope of regaining glory days when the marque used to boast annual sales of 2,000 units here with the likes of the ZX and Xsara.
Brooklands Motors started rebuilding the brand image of Citroen two years ago when it was appointed the “authorised repairer” in August 2006.
A year later, it was “promoted” to sole importer and distributor of the brand.
Chamla said many other Citroen models will join the C6 and Grand C4 in the coming months including the facelift C4 and all-new C5 sedans.
The last Citroen models introduced here were the C4 and facelift C5 in 2005 by previous distributor Directional (M) Sdn Bhd.
Malaysia, Chamla said, remains an important market for Citroen, although there was no immediate plan to set up a local assembly operation here or any other Southeast Asian countries.
“This is my first visit to Malaysia and my first impression is that this is an interesting and important market. We want to re-launch the Citroen brand here and deliver the right service for the new Citroen experience,” he explained.
Citroen director for Asia Pacific and Africa Loic De La Roche said: “When we started with Brooklands Motors, we wanted to change the public perception of the Citroen brand and service. This is one key point in our strategy and we want to continue with this strategy.”
On his thought on the Malaysian and regional automotive market in light of the current economic slowdown, Chamla said: “We note that the automotive market is still growing despite many statements announcing its decrease. Basically, the future trend remains encouraging.”
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that it will be harder for everyone to do business under the current conditions but stressed that Citroen has “a very good argument to preserve our development in the coming years”.
Chamla said Citroen wanted to achieve more in the Southeast Asian region, albeit the encouraging performance so far particularly in Singapore, where it is able to sell about 1,000 cars annually.