Citroën to introduce car rental concept at 100 dealerships in Germany

26 July 2017

26 July 2017

Citroën’s ′Rent’ concept seeks to offer short or long term car rental directly from dealers themselves instead of from car hire partners such as Sixt or Avis. German industry magazine Automobilwoche reports that Citroën wants to launch the new Rent business model across 100 German dealers from September. 

Peter Wilkenhöner, sales director for Germany, says the contracts are signed and explained to Automobilwoche that Citroën has consciously kicked off the initiative with Business Centres, which are mostly larger trading companies that are also active in the B2B sector, but that the car rental business is open to all dealers. 

From the autumn, sister brand Peugeot is also looking to change its ′Mu’ mobility concept and relaunch it under the name ′Peugeot Rent’. The Mu mobility concept, which the Peugeot brand launched in Berlin in 2010, remains rather unsuccessful as the plan was to introduce the ′Mu by Peugeot’ concept to around 100 dealers but to date, only about 60 dealers are on board.  

Automobilwoche further reports that Citroën Germany managers Wolfgang Schlimme and Peter Wilkenhöner emphasised to journalists on Tuesday that the Citroën Rent project is most certainly not a way to keep self-registrations artificially high but that it is to become a lucrative business model for dealers. The initial dealer investment amounts to just €990 per year for the software, which enables them to start a car rental business with their own vehicles. Training courses on insurance and capacity utilisation will also be run as the volumes must be right for the car rental business to flourish but the prices are set by the dealers themselves. 

In the first half of 2017, the French brand significantly outperformed the new car market in Germany, with registrations up 8.3% year on year compared to just 3.1% growth overall according to the German motor vehicle authority KBA. The third-generation C3 has been especially well received as too has the Spacetourer MPV, although customers will have to wait until next year to take delivery of the latter. The C3 Aircross SUV is also scheduled to launch on 11 November in Germany and so these models should help Citroën Germany CEO Schlimme achieve his aim of increasing the brand’s sales in the country by 10,000 units every year. 

Citroën has of course also been affected by the tarnished reputation of diesel, which has seen the fuel’s share of the new car market in Germany fall to only 41% in the first six months of 2017, down from 46% in 2016. However, The French manufacturer has released real-world consumption and emissions figures and in the autumn, it will also make its NOx values publicly available. The brand is also embarking on a ′safe, clean, transparent’ campaign to restore confidence. 

The news from Citroën in Germany comes as the PSA Group today announced ′revenues amounted to €29,165 million in the first half of 2017, up 5.0% compared to €27,779 million in the first half of 2016. Automotive revenues amounted to €19,887 million, also up 3.6% compared to the first half of 2016, benefiting from the success of the new models and the pricing discipline.’ 

Carlos Tavares, chairman of PSA said: ′Record performance was achieved thanks to our customers who have made our last commercial launches great successes, and thanks to the continuous commitment of all Group employees in the execution of the Push to Pass plan, combining agility and business sense. The way the teams overcame headwinds brings confidence for the coming challenges.’ 

Photograph courtesy of Groupe PSA