Just one month before the pandemic struck, Eurig Druce became managing director of Citroën UK.
He had previously held the position of sales director since 2016 and worked within the PSA Group (now part of Stellantis) since joining as a trainee in 2001, chiefly in sales and aftersales field roles.
Here he talks about Citroën's shift in focus to profitability and how brand perception, retailer behaviour and more have changed to reflect that - and why there’s more good news to come.
You started as MD just before the pandemic. How was that?
“I started officially in February 2020. Five weeks later, I was packing everything away, expecting to be out of the office and stuck at home for three weeks. Let’s just say that what followed was an interesting time.”
You didn’t hang around in implementing change, though. In fact, you describe the pandemic’s timing as lucky?
“That’s right, lucky – obviously respectfully to the wider issues of the pandemic and not in the obvious sense of lucky.
"In February, I went to Paris to get a feel for where the brand was going, including seeing all the future models. I left with a feeling that there was a clear mismatch between the quality of what I had seen and the quality of the business we were doing in the UK.
“Our residuals were behind the market average, we did a lot of rental business that pressurised our used pricing and then there was the age-old image of being the company to come to for big discounts. It just didn’t match.
“On the plane home, I made a decision that we needed a drastic change of course. We started to plan that - and then the pandemic began. But of course where I was lucky was that the shutdown gave us a chance to really plan it.”
Describe that period to us?
“In terms of normal business, we were operating at walking pace. Yes, we sold some cars online and so on, but it was in tiny volumes. But we spent months drawing up a plan to change our position, which we then formally presented in October.”
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