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The French PSA Group has sold 51 % of its shares in its wholly-owned subsidiary, Peugeot-Citroën South Africa, to Japanese vehicle distributor and retailer VT Holdings in a deal that aims to strengthen the local sales profile of the Peugeot brand.
The transaction – initially due to have been concluded at the beginning of May – was subject to approval by South Africa’s Competition Commission. VT Holdings, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock exchange, has been in the automobile industry for about 34 years. It distributes vehicles in five countries and operates more than 200 retail outlets – a number of them in South Africa.
In the Japanese market the company focuses on Nissan and Honda brands while locally it indirectly owns, through its subsidiary the Trust Auto Group (TAG), the Hatfield Peugeot dealership in Pretoria as well as Fiat and Alfa dealerships in Helderberg in the Cape. Additionally, TAG has Suzuki dealerships in Bryanston and Northcliff in Johannesburg, and in Helderberg in the Cape.
A spokesman for Peugeot-Citroën South Africa said the joint venture was aimed at “allowing the Peugeot brand to strengthen its position in South Africa through an upgrade of the entire value chain.” The local company will be headed by Francisco Gaie, the former Chief Operations Officer at TAG. He replaces Francis Harnie, who has returned to Europe after six years at the helm.
“It is time to move forward in creating a new and exciting vision, one that produces even greater opportunities to our employees, dealers and most importantly to our customers,” Gaie said in a statement.
“We have new developments planned around products, aftersales and parts which we are confident will result in greater efficiencies, increase our market share and strengthen our position in the South African market place.”
Gaie, a South African, has extensive experience in the automotive industry, having spent time in Nagoya, Japan, where he was involved in various operational and financial positions. He joined TAG on his return to South Africa in 2013.
In terms of product, Peugeot customers can look forward to the launch next month of the much-lauded 3008, an SUV that has earned it major international awards, including the 2017 European Car of The Year title.
The newcomer will augment the brand’s smaller 2008 subcompact SUV, while a significant upgrade to the 308 hatchback is also anticipated for local launch.