AHEAD of Women’s Month in South Africa during August, PEUGEOT’s own global woman hero, CEO Linda Jackson, is in the country checking on the progress of the brand.
The high-level executive delegation from PEUGEOT, including Head of PEUGEOT Marketing and Communications, Phillip York, arrives in the country at a time when PEUGEOT is making major inroads into this key strategic market. Off the back of the brand’s merger into Stellantis, PEUGEOT has gained significant traction and appeal in South Africa with strong sales growth and consequent accolades.
Whilst global PEUGEOT sales increased 22% to 1,215,000 units in 2021, local volumes improved 80% to capture 0,5% market share in South Africa, the highest for the brand for eight years. Interestingly, this local market share record is shared across passenger cars and Light Commercial Vehicles, PEUGEOT re-entering the ultra-competitive “bakkie” market this year.
Key to PEUGEOT’s success in South Africa has been one of the youngest model ranges available, offering up-to-the-minute technology in an equally appealing design package. The PEUGEOT 208, 2008 (2021 South African Car of the Year), 3008, and 5008 are all fresh products, as is LANDTREK that marks the return of the PEUGEOT to the LCV market 30 years later.
But the brand also builds on the momentum it is generating across the Middle East Africa (MEA) region, says Jackson. “The MEA region is second in sales to Europe ahead of Latin America,” says Jackson. “South Africa’s record market share shows the appeal the brand is building and shares its growth with three other markets on the continent. This is built off innovative product but also – critically – improved customer experience.”
Stellantis South Africa is on a massive drive to improve dealer representation across the country, making facilities more convenient to existing and potential customers nationally. “Ultimately, the customer interface with our people is critically important and we have invested significantly in training and supply chain infrastructure to improve parts supply, thereby limiting inconvenience for customers,” says Phillip York, Head of PEUGEOT Marketing globally. “We have put in place a specific organisation to focus on quality & customer experience.”
Commenting on the brand’s legacy in South Africa, Jackson said that customers now had the reassurance of a PEUGEOT-owned National Sales Company locally, not just an importer. “PEUGEOT is here to stay in South Africa and we’re committed to bringing the freshest product in the best possible way,” says Jackson. “The introduction of PEUGEOT Pride in 2019, offering five-year warranty and courtesy cars if parts can’t be supplied in time, is just one of our commitments to customer satisfaction and delivering ownership security.”
PEUGEOT is also carving out a very specific role in the larger Stellantis empire. “Within the broader Stellantis group, PEUGEOT fits in the so-called upper bracket in order to complement the other brands and product lines and provide a suitable mobility solution for customers,” says York. “PEUGEOT’s updated brand identity and new emblem (Lion head) embodies this position as an inventive brand as we aim to provide clean, safe and affordable mobility for everyone.”
With global eyes on electrification, PEUGEOT has committed to a 100% electrified model range by 2025. “Although the South African take-up of Electric Vehicles remains slow, Stellantis has a clear roadmap for the market and will introduce affordable EVs to the market at the appropriate time,” says Jackson.
“South Africa continues to provide an exceptional opportunity for PEUGEOT,” says Jackson. “We’re committed to the market, meeting the needs of customers locally, and sharing the excitement of innovative developments within PEUGEOT globally, locally.”
About Linda Jackson, CEO of brand PEUGEOT
Linda Jackson grew up in Coventry. In 1977, she began working her first job in the auto industry in a temporary position as an accounting clerk at Jaguar. Later that year, she began working in a clerical position at British Leyland, later Austin Rover, and subsequently Rover Group. During her time at the company, Rover sponsored her through an executive MBA (EMBA) programme at Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick. She attended evening classes while working and completed the programme between 1988 and 1992.
Jackson held multiple positions in finance and sales at Rover before being named finance director of Rover France in 1998. She was promoted to managing director in 2000, and European finance director in 2004.
In 2005, Jackson joined Citroën as finance director. In 2009, she became finance director of Citroën France before serving as the managing director for Citroën UK and Ireland from 2010-2014. Her main goal during this tenure was to boost brand recognition of Citroën in the UK, a market where Citroën remained a small player on a declining slope, and focused on the dealership distribution network.
In 2014, Jackson became the CEO of Citroën. She is the first English woman, and third woman overall, to run a major car company. During her time as CEO, Jackson began overseeing a plan to stabilize and secure profitability of the company.
In January 2020, she was succeeded as CEO of Citroën by the deputy CEO Vincent Cobée, and she would instead “lead a study to clarify and support brand differentiation within a brand portfolio”.
In January 2021, she was appointed as CEO PEUGEOT following the formation of Stellantis, the company created by the merger of the PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).