More deposits have been laid down for the new Peugeot 208 ahead of customers being able to drive it than for any other new car in the manufacturer's history, prompting Peugeot UK boss Tim Zimmerman to predict a buoyant year for the firm. In total, more than 3000 deposits for the new 208 have been paid for to date.
"It's an unprecedented number, and that gives us all cause for optimism," said Zimmerman. "Of course, we mustn't be complacent - it is a very difficult market - but the reception the car has received so far has been fabulous, and that has been turned in to real deposits."
Zimmerman also revealed that the 207 has continued to sell so strongly in its run-out phase that a new batch of 1500 cars is going to be built in September in order to fulfil customer orders.
"Although we started the build up to launch the 208 last November, it hasn't put people off buying the 207," he said. "In fact, our supermini sales to date are as strong as last year's."
In particular, Zimmerman highlighted Peugeot's strong performance in the finance sector, and particularly its 'Just Add Fuel' lease deal, as driving sales.
"Around 60 per cent of our retail sales are now through finance, and especially PCPs," he said. "In total, Just Add Fuel accounts for around 15 per cent of our sales, and we hope to grow that to 20 per cent - it's a unique offering that others have tried to copy but failed to pull off. The key is our relationship with our insurers, which is long-standing and based on trust - things like servicing, road tax and warranty costs anyone can do, but the insurance deal is the hardest part to balance."
Zimmerman added that initiatives such as Just Add Fuel also gave Peugeot hope for the future. "Around 70 per cent of our customers on the Passport scheme renew with Peugeot, so they are clearly liking what they find and sticking with the brand," he said.
In a press conference held on Tuesday morning, Peugeot also revealed that its market share had risen to 5.1 per cent, up from 4.9 year on year. This has been buoyed by a 30 per cent boost in Peugeot 107 sales year on year after the model's facelift, plus a 69 per cent surge in Peugeot 508 sales year on year as the model gains market acceptance.