The centre was officially opened by Christian Peugeot, fifth-generation member of the founder family and current quality and marketing director of Peugeot worldwide. "The training centre marks not only a business achievement, but also signifies the commitment of a remarkable team that Peugeot is building in South Africa," says Peugeot. "Peugeot can today demonstrate a tangible, long-term commitment to both South Africa and the broader African region. We have made great strides in developing a South African division of our company that is creating jobs, a responsible employer, an active member of the broader community - and very successful in attracting buyers for its products. "
The training centre is equipped with technology that incorporates real-time links to Peugeot's technical centres in the United Kingdom, facilitating the world-class training that ensures Peugeot customers receive expert service. In the future all technical training as well as most sales, computer, financial and "soft" skills training will be delivered at this new centre. The Peugeot network will receive ongoing training to ensure a high degree of competence and skill. Trainees will be continuously updated with the latest product, technology and company news.
Peugeot has had continued global success in spite of all major markets experiencing some form of economic downturn. Worldwide sales of Peugeot vehicles amounted 1,955-million units last year, and just on 1,9-million units in 2001. In the past five years, Peugeot's worldwide sales have grown by 62%. Peugeot is now increasingly focused on emerging markets such as the flourishing motor industry in South Africa, with the government's Motor Industry Development Programme providing a strong stimulus for growth and exports.
The training centre represents the new roots that Peugeot has put down in South Africa. Having been a major player in the 70's, Peugeot again began distributing models in1995 through the McCarthy Group, selling almost 5 000 Peugeots through McCarthy outlets. In January 2002 Peugeot Motors South Africa was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Peugeot Automobiles of France. Spearheading the company's drive into Africa under the leadership of managing director Thierry Poirat, Peugeot Motors South Africa immediately grew sales by 74% and is well on track to meet further growth goals.
"We are exceptionally pleased that our model range is resonating so strongly with the South African motorist, and we most certainly expect to continue growing. New models are introduced to South Africa as soon as possible after their launch in Europe, and this approach is clearly finding favour with the motoring public. We are confident that we can sell 10 000 units a year in South Africa within three years," says Poirat.
Poirat says that Peugeot aims to grow its dealer network throughout Southern Africa to 28 by the end of 2004. "We are approaching sales growth in a different way: our strategy is demand-driven, which means we grow our dealer network in locations that meet the needs of the public." Dealerships are complete Peugeot outlets, identical in almost every respect to the famous "Blue Box" outlets seen around the world. Each outlet offers a comprehensive range of services including new and used sales, parts, accessories and workshop facilities which also encompass a while-you-wait service for quick jobs called Peugeot Rapide.
As an importer, Peugeot contributes to local industry and employment through a strong counter-trade programme. "Last year we exported locally produced automotive components to the value of almost 90-million Euros. We expect that figure to increase dramatically in the next couple of years," says Poirat.
Peugeot Motors South Africa employs two thirds of its staff from previously disadvantaged groups and has created new jobs in 2002 that have touched the lives of more than 200 South African families. Corporate social responsibility initiatives are also well underway.
Peugeot Motors South Africa today donated donated R350 000 to VUKA Ukhanye (a non-profit organisation) which will be used to establish an ongoing, education-based programme addressing child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. The programme also seeks to develop youth leaders within previously disadvantaged communities.
Peugeot further committed to assisting with two projects in Orange Farm, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Johannesburg. A cheque of R50 000 was presented for the upgrade and extension to Lakeside Village Cr�che which currently takes care of 64 young children.
Cordis, a community project in Orange Farm which assists the unemployed, will have the use of a new Peugeot Boxer to assist with the transportation of furniture, carpentry and bricks refurbished, produced and sold by members of the Orange Farm community. Peugeot also continues to supply the use of vehicles to other worthy causes such as community medical services.
Says Poirat: "We believe that our developing reputation as a responsible investor that is committed for the long term will benefit our position in emerging markets over time."