Olivier Minaire

Native Luxembourger Jean-Marc Gales joined France’s largest carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën in 2009, after nearly 20 years in the German automotive industry. Today he is global chief of the firm’s Peugeot and Citroën brands. He spoke with on the sidelines of a recent BGL BNP Paribas “Doers & Thinkers” conference.

AG: How is PSA is improving customer service?

J-MG: We always say: ‘the first car you sell, the salesman sells the car. The second car is sold on the service.’ Here we’ve made huge progress.

To compete with the Germans, apart from design and technology, we also need service quality, irreproachable service quality. We launched a major training programme two years ago. We have [already] put 60,000 people through [it].

AG: How much are you investing in this programme?

J-MG: We are investing something like between 10 and 20 million a year just on this programme, which is called Podium 2012, because in 2012 we want to be one of the top three manufacturers in terms of service quality.

AG: What are your plans in China?

In China, we are currently at 3.3% market share last year. Our aim mid-term is to move up in the passenger car market to eight percent, somewhere around 2016.

With our existing joint-venture partner Dongfeng, with which we sell Dongfeng Peugeot and Dongfang Citroen, we said we would launch a new car every year for each brand. So that’s quite a commitment.

Second, we have entered a second joint-venture, with Changan Automotive based in Shenzhen, with which we will develop, produce and market cars in the Citroen DS range, which is a premium range. And you know that the Chinese customers, they love premium.

Jean-Marc Gales talks about improving the Peugeot and Citroën brands in the June print edition of Delano.