By Theodore Opara
THE recent introduction of Peugeot 301 Midlife has brought together the entire Peugeot family in Nigeria. It was a day Peugeot old dealers, staff and new dealers gathered to celebrate one of the vehicles that has brought back the reputation of the brand as a brand to watch in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director, Mr. Ibrahim Boyi, explained that since the launch of the 301, PAN Nigeria had made a giant stride and grown its market share. Peugeot, he said, has been a household name in Nigeria as there is hardly any family that has used automobile in the past in Nigeria that has not tested Peugeot. “Either your father, uncle, brother must have, at one time, used a Peugeot vehicle,” he said.
The PAN boss was referring to the old workhorses like the Peugeot 403, 404, 504, 505, 604 and 605 and up to the new generation Peugeot cars. He particularly described the Peugeot 301 series as a huge global success and one of the most affordable cars in its class in Nigeria.
Also appraising the Peugoet 301 Midlife, General Manager, PAN Nigeria Limited, Sales and Marketing, Mr. Bawo Omagbitse, stated that the old 301 was an asset to Peugeot as it has won several awards for the company, including the revered Nigeria Car of the Year award. This is apart from winning new customers for the company in Nigeria.
Omagbitse described the new Peugeot 301 as a masterpiece in every sense, with the new design being packed with array of features with new front and rear look. He noted, “We have created a new front look for the car, which is bold, with reinforced interior. This has raised infotainment level and made the engine better with unrivaled fuel efficiency for its class. The engine has also been made more powerful with a six-speed automatic gearbox while the boot has become bigger.
He pointed out that their after sales team had been retrained to provide more efficient services and meet the customers need wherever they are in the country.
General Manager, Industrial Operations of PAN, Mr. Austin Okolo, stated that the Peugeot 301 had done quite well since its introduction, but added that facelift became necessary because it was Peugeot’s standard to carry out some change in the Midlife of their models. The engine, gearbox, front, rear and interior had been touched to make the car smarter and better.
Excited by the launch of the new Peugeot 301, Group Managing Director of ASD Motors, foremost dealer of Peugeot in Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Sani, said that the new Peugeot 301 has shown Peugeot’s strength in competing with other brands in this segment. He said: “People that know business, when they see the wind of change they will not miss it. The car is very innovative and exciting.”
According to him, the dealers had always had confidence in the Peugeot brand. This launch has shown that there is brighter future for Peugeot as the vehicles are assembled in Nigeria.
Another staunch Peugeot dealer, Chief Andrew Okocha, Chairman of AC Okocha Motors, appealed to Nigerians to patronize the Peugeot products because they were designed for Nigerian roads and can be repaired in any part of the country with genuine parts.
He said that apart from being rugged and reliable, Peugeot models are the most competitively priced in the country. “I appeal to Nigerians to show the patriotism by buying Peugeot cars that are made in Nigeria for Nigerians,” Okocha said.
He said it was by buying made in Nigerian products like Peugeot that the nation can create jobs and transfer technology, adding that Peugeot plant in Kaduna is the only one in the country that is turning out cars at the moment and should not be allowed to go under.
The AC Okocha Motors boss recalled that with patronage, Nigeria can improve on its local content in auto production in no distant time. He warned that Peugeot was coming up to take its rightful place in the Nigerian automobile market with production of models like the 301, 508, 3008 etc.
Managing Director, Road Truckers Nigeria Limited, Chief Oladele Benson, in his speech, however, appealed to Peugeot to bring more of their old dealers. “Peugeot has got new dealers and only a few of the old dealers are with them. I am of the opinion that the new dealers don’t have what it takes to move the brand forward as they lack the required experience,”he said.
Benson described the new Peugeot models as truly the real lions, stressing,“The products being rolled out from Peugeot plants in Nigeria are world class. They are of best quality but we need government patronage and encouragement as a product that is being produced in Nigeria.”
The vehicles are very affordable when compare to other products in their class and an added advantage is Peugeot’s nationwide network which others does not have,”he concluded.