Sime Darby drops PSA lines in NZ

French brands Citroen, DS and Peugeot have changed hands


DISTRIBUTION of blood-tied French brands Citroen, DS and Peugeot in New Zealand is transferring.

The partnered PSA marques, all niche performers here in 2016, have been relinquished by Sime Darby Motors and are going to prominent dealer Rick Armstrong, whose multi-franchise dealership operation already have experience with the types in Auckland and Christchurch.

Sime Darby, which only acquired Citroen and DS four years ago – taking over from Ateco Automotive - but has held Peugeot for much longer, has chosen to exit car distribution here and in Australia, where the PSA assets have been acquired by Inchcape, which distributes Subaru.

It is not yet clear what future awaits Sime Darby staff in New Zealand.

Patrick McKenna, Sime Darby Motors managing director for Australia and New Zealand, says the Malaysian-led companies plan is to focus on car retail and truck distribution.

“After careful consideration, a decision was reached to divest the Australasian distribution businesses,” McKenna says.

“This is in line with Sime Darby Motors’ strategy to focus on the expansion of its retail car and commercial truck footprints on both sides of the Tasman.

“Once the decision was made, KPMG was engaged to conduct a full tender process for the sales on our behalf.”

“Throughout the sale process it has been our priority to ensure that the vast majority of our employees in both countries would be offered employment under their existing terms and conditions,” he said in comment issued in a press statement delivered to media this evening.

“I would like to acknowledge this terrific group of people and wish them well in the future.”

Citroen and DS together sold fewer than 180 cars in New Zealand last year while Peugeot moved 296 cars, according to Government-compiled statistics.

Peugeot has just released the 3008 here and Sime Darby NZ divisional manager Simon Rose spoke to MotoringNetwork just three weeks ago about his hopes for the Citroen equivalent, the C5 Aircross, which makes its global debut at last months Shanghai motor show.