Peugeot CEO Maxime Picat has a key role in PSA/Peugeot-Citroen’s turnaround as head of the automaker’s largest division. With models such as the 308, the Peugeot brand helped PSA to return to profit last year by improving its retail pricing, especially in Europe, where it has gained ground on Volkswagen brand. Picat explained how Peugeot plans to keep improving during an interview with Automotive News Europe Editor Luca Ciferri and France Correspondent Bruce Gain
How have you raised net pricing?
We improved our sales mix by helping our customers opt for upper-end variants of our products. We started this with the 2008 and 308 and it is something that we are managing very well this year, too. The newly launched 308 GT is even better than the basic 308 variant in terms of pricing power and it now accounts for 20 percent of 308 orders.
Can you close the 308’s specification-adjusted net transaction price with the VW Golf in just one year?
A year is possible, but I must admit that the gap between the 308 and Golf is not small. It’s easier for us to close the 208’s gap [with the VW Polo]. Also, this really depends on the behavior of VW. For us they are champions in terms of pricing power and price management, but we were surprised to see that they are so aggressive in some markets.
The pricing gap in Europe between Peugeot and VW was narrowed to 5.3 percent last year from 6.5 percent in 2013. How close is Peugeot’s nearest competitor in Europe?
The difference in pricing with our closest competitor is at least 10 points. The gaps in Europe are amazing. It’s more and more difficult to read the real meaning of market share because people are really pushing the metal, trying to make volumes, and in the end, many competitors end up with hundreds of millions in losses in their European sales.