Philippe Narbeburu has led PSA's light commercial vehicle business unit since it was created in 2016. With the addition of Opel, PSA's LCV market share in Europe is more than 20 percent. Expectations are high for a new range of midsize vans introduced this year. He spoke with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Peter Sigal about how PSA is expanding its LCV footprint in Europe and globally.
What is your outlook for growth in the LCV sector in Europe this year?
Right now, we are quite cautious. At PSA Group, we think we can increase our market share to 25 percent, including Opel. Our market share at the end of 2017 was 20.2 percent (Peugeot and Citroen), an increase of 1.3 percentage points. We grew three times faster than the market.
What will drive your sales this year?
We are the first in our sector to renew our lineup -- two-thirds of the range [has been updated] within two years. We are confident we can attract new customers with our new [compact] Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner. We are also confident that our new [midsize] Citroen Jumpy and Peugeot Expert and Citroen SpaceTourer/Peugeot Traveller will meet the expectations of LCV customers. With all these offers, we can cover the entire spectrum of the segment to offer a customized response to our customers. Also, we are working with our converters [firms that create specialized versions of a brand's core LCVs] to increase the efficiency of our cooperation.
What percentage of PSA vans are converted for different uses?
Roughly 70 percent of our LCVs are either transformed or converted at the end of the production line. Either we are fitting them with our own equipment inside to help meet the demands of customers, or we are sending them to converters for more advanced transformations.
What percentage of your sales for the new compact van models will be passenger versions?
We are counting on 45 percent being passenger versions. The leisure-activity vehicle segment is growing. In fact, growth last year was higher than the rate of the overall market. It was our best year ever in that segment, even though it was the last full year in the life cycle of the current Citroen and Peugeot compact models.
Why did PSA created a separate business unit for LCVs in 2016?
What is important in our business is to focus. Why? So as to offer the right and appropriate products and right services to our LCV customers. Their expectations are different from the expectations of passenger car customers. For vans, we have very diverse customers, a large range of uses -- and purchasing is driven by usage. So, if you want to really meet the customers’ needs, you have to focus to better understand their professional needs and to capitalize on trends for new uses. Also, we can raise the professionalism of our own teams in terms of products, services, engineering and design, as well as our dealerships' expertise.