On the heels of 2022 sales results in France that saw new car sales off by nearly 8% with a slight improvement seen since the summer but unexpectedly fizzling out in December, Stellantis announced this past week that a new sales strategy is coming in France that will see almost all of its brands amalgamated into a single showroom experience.
Stellantis plans to cut one in five outlets in a dealership revamp in France. The move is to reduce costs while gaining more flexibility in its sales network to adapt to new trends and customer demands as cars are becoming increasingly electrified and software-driven. The company’s plans for reorganizing its business relations with dealerships, branded the “New Retailer Model”, is currently in the final stages of discussions between the parties involved.
Could it be that Citroën will be alongside Alfa Romeo, DS, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Opel, Peugeot, each brand slotted toward a certain market demographic with Citroën being aimed at the low end and urban mobility? Currently Citroën car models appear to be cross-catering between economy and innovation with products like the Ami which incidentally is now also offered in Europe badged as an Opel and called the Rocks-e.
“We will have fewer physical sites”, said Guillaume Couzy, Stellantis country manager for France, but added there would be “just as much or even more” contact between the company’s brands and potential buyers. The company’s future outlets will be more multi-brand, he added, so customers will find a broader offer at each dealership among the eight brands Stellantis markets in Europe.
Given the economics of maintaining dealerships for all brands throughout the rest of Europe, it‘s quite possible that the French ‘mega bands experience’ model will be adapted throughout the continent.
Ultimately the same multi-brand showcase mentality may come to North America, but with it limitations. The Chrysler brands; Jeep, Dodge and Ram will most likely remain untouched as long as they remain profitable. Recently removed brands like Fiat and Opel may return (as Alfa Romero has) brands that have not been sold here for some time (Citroën and Lancia in particular) would require too much investment vs the revenue they would generate.
While it is highly unlikely that we will see a Citroën sold in the USA or Canada, we may see the jest of them being available as all Stellantis brands will be sharing common platforms as the company transitions to EV offerings.