PARIS - PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is developing an Internet strategy to help boost new car sales - but it does not plan to sell vehicles directly online.
Jean-Martin Folz, PSA chairman and chief executive, said Peugeot and its dealers are already experimenting with Internet sales in the UK and Denmark. Potential buyers can research the Peugeot range and configure vehicles online. They are then directed to a dealer to make the final purchasing arrangements.
'We'll use the Internet as a medium to prepare the sale, not to market cars directly on the web,' said a PSA spokesman.
Regarding e-commerce and other Internet-related issues, 'we prefer to encourage creativity (inside PSA departments and subsidiaries) rather than talk of a global Internet strategy,' said Folz.
He added that PSA is focusing its Internet policy on developing relationships with customers, dealers and suppliers, and on extending Intranet networks and other communication systems inside the company.
Folz said PSA websites received 8 million visitors in 1999. The websites include PSA's corporate site (www.psa.com) and 71 sites for the Peugeot and Citroen brands in various countries. In addition, 35,000 employees are currently connected through 100 PSA intranets.
On the customer side, PSA will develop marketing-oriented websites, including one devoted to the new Peugeot 607.
At the Geneva auto show, PSA will unveil an Internet program in cooperation with French communications group Vivendi. It will offer complete communications packages to car buyers, including mobile phone, emergency assistance and Internet connection services.
PSA will also open a dedicated e-procurement portal for suppliers. It has already launched online auction purchasing.
Apart from the Internet, PSA will spend FF1 billion (A154 million) to develop its Ingenum and Diva cross-company information systems. Ingenum is dedicated to computer-aided engineering and manufacturing; Diva deals with the distribution of vehicles throughout Europe.