After years of speculation, Citroen is leaving SA.
Peugeot Citroen SA MD Francis Harnie confirmed that the famous chevron-wearing marque will no longer be available in the country.
“Although we will concentrate on the Peugeot brand, both Citroen and DS customers will be looked after,” Harnie said.
“Each dealership will retail Peugeot models, but will all offer the entire after-sales service to customers of all three brands. Citroen parts will be handled as Peugeot parts in the future.”
The decision comes as no surprise. This year, Citroen has sold just 440 vehicles in the country and had already said it will not bring its vital new C3 model to our shores.
Its withdrawal comes at a time when the brand is actually enjoying a resurgence elsewhere in the world.
Citroen is the most recent brand to leave the country, after the departure of Daihatsu, Dodge and Chrysler.
Director at the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) Nico Vermeulen said that it was sad to see Citroen go because it was a great brand, with great technology. The auto maker’s departure from SA was a result of very difficult trading environment domestically, he said.
The automotive industry in SA has taken strain this year. The latest figures from the Department of Trade and Industry show that new vehicle sales declined again in September, down 14.3% to 47,399 units compared to September 2015.
Vermeulen said that all importers in the country were exposed to very difficult trading environment and Citroën was not a unique case.
Economist Jeffrey Dinham from Econometrix said that the direct impact of Citroën closing shop was negligible, given that car maker was a relatively small importer into South Africa.
The larger impact was indirect, on business and consumer confidence.
“Citroen, Peugeot South Africa, pulling out the country will worry consumer and business purchasers who will turn to more established brands that can ensure a presence in the country throughout the life of their vehicles, for maintenance, parts and of course resale values. This will impact smaller players in the industry, but benefit the larger car makers,” he said.
According to the latest Naamsa report, Peugeot Citroen sold 75 vehicles within South Africa in November, placing them 24th out of roughly 32 manufacturers in SA.
In comparison, market leader Toyota sold over 10,000 vehicles locally and exported over 4,000 in November.