Oct 19, 2016

    Peugeot maker takes online road to sell used cars


    PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars, said on Monday it was buying a stake in a French online used-car retailer as it expands into new businesses.

    The carmaker is in exclusive talks with multi-brand car retailer Aramisauto to purchase a 30 per cent holding, before injecting more cash through a capital increase to secure a majority stake, PSA said.

    The deal will unlock "strong growth potential in a second-hand market that is twice the size of the new car market, but where we currently have little presence", said Marc Lechantre, head of the Paris-based company's used cars division.

    Faced with the rise of car-sharing and digital mobility operators like Uber, many carmakers are eyeing an expansion into new businesses outside the traditional manufacturing and sale of new cars.

    But PSA is going further than most under chief executive Carlos Tavares, who is also slashing production costs in the wake of the company's 2013-14 brush with bankruptcy.

    Besides flagging a push into car-sharing, he pledged to turn PSA into a leading player in multi-brand vehicle repairs and second-hand sales when he unveiled the second stage of a recovery plan in April.

    The group is targeting a five-fold increase in parts sales through Mister Auto, the low-cost online retailer it acquired last year.

    It also plans to launch car-sharing services in Los Angeles in partnership with Bollore Group.

    Lechantre said the acquisition of Aramisauto, with 360 million euros (S$545 million) in annual sales, would help PSA double its second-hand car sales to 800,000 vehicles by 2021.

    The group will also bolster its own Peugeot and Citroen used-car networks and launch similar operations for the younger DS brand.

    Set up in 2001, Aramisauto reconditions vehicles at a dedicated factory and draws about one million monthly visitors to its site.