Citroën dealers to close
Service and sales to be offered by company subsidiary
CITROËN dealerships around the country are to shut down ahead of a change in the company that imports the Frenchmade cars.
Citroën vehicles are brought into South Africa by the motor division of Imperial Holdings, an industrial services and retail group.
The company, which has had a contract with Citroën France since 2001, also owns and manages all the 23 Citroën dealerships across the country.
However, Citroën SA general sales manager Jason Knight said Imperial’s contract expires at the end of the year.
And from January 1, the vehicles will be imported by Citroën itself.
This means the existing dealerships will have to be shut down as part of the switchover, said Knight. These will be replaced by 12 new franchise dealers.
In a statement, the company described the change as the start of “an exciting new future” in South Africa.
“Now reinforcing its activities, the brand will start a new chapter in South Africa. From January 2010, the company will be fully backed by the manufacturer and operate as a subsidiary of Citroën France,” it said.
The first of the Citroën dealers have already begun to shut down. One of two dealerships in Cape Town – the city centre branch – closed its doors recently.
Citroën SA general manager Hilton Ralph said the Somerset West branch would remain open “at least until January”.
Knight said: “Citroën is essentially coming into the country as a wholly owned subsidiary of Citroën France. We’re opening a new network of dealers. From January, there’ll be 12 dealers, but that plan is to expand that to 16 by the end of next year.”
He assured Citroën clients, however, that they would not be left in the lurch.
They would be able to service or buy their cars at existing Citroën dealerships until the end of this year.
In Cape Town, where there is only one dealership in Somerset West, clients will be able to service their cars at the Peugeot dealerships in Cape Town and Tygervalley.
From January, clients will be able to access all the company’s services at any of the 12 new dealerships, a few of which will be situated at the premises of Peugeot dealers.
Knight said that while Peugeot and Citroën operated under one company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, the two were entirely different brands.
He said they were in the process of gearing up their database, which would enable them to inform their clients about the switchover, and let them know where they would be able to get access to Citroën services.
This will be done by SMS this week, as well as by letters and e-mails, which are expected to be sent out soon.
The company has also set up a customer care line, which can be reached on 0860 211 112.
SWITCHOVER: Citroen in Cape Town has been relocated to Paarden Island.