The whole of 2020 was a great challenge for us. Especially since Citroën was taken over by the Emil Frey Group at the beginning of last year and many changes were imminent. Thanks to the close cooperation, we were able to invest in the future despite the Corona emergency situation and strengthen our team in order to be able to offer our dealers and customers even better service.
To what extent has the Emil Frey Group changed your working life?
In a customer letter from 1935, Emil Frey promised to “only sell real quality goods at fair prices” and to always offer “prompt and conscientious” service. Emil Frey set standards that fit our philosophy perfectly. Since 1919, Citroën has established itself as a popular brand in the noble sense, which makes people and their lifestyles their primary source of inspiration. A spirit that is enlivened every day by the slogan “Inspired by You”.
What makes Citroën different in times like these?
It is very important to me that our employees can develop and maintain an open exchange through all hierarchical levels. Corona demands a lot from us, which makes it all the more important that employees remain positive and motivated. Above all, this requires continuous exchange. This also includes a shared, virtual coffee and a healthy dose of humor.
For everyone there was this moment in which one realized: This crisis cannot be sat out, one has to find solutions – immediately. When was that with you?
When we had to close the showrooms for the first time. We had little time to react and were completely surprised by the situation. But now we are all better prepared and have learned a lot. Today: “We are still there for you!” All of our employees stay at the front, we advise customers online when buying a new car. And our workshops also remain open for repairs.
How do you serve customers who cannot or do not want to leave the house?
Many of our dealers now offer a “valet service”. Whether for repairs, a test drive or even the delivery of your new vehicle – a collection and delivery service right to your front door!
What other new offers have you developed?
Due to the pandemic, leasing inquiries have skyrocketed. For this purpose, we have developed a leasing box in which the customer can choose from various helpful services and benefit from leasing from as little as 0.99%. In addition, with the “Swiss Edition” special models, we have launched an offer that offers an extremely large number of cars at a low price. For example, you can get a C3 from 15,990 francs, the Berlingo from 25,990 francs or the C5 Aircross from 32,990 francs – fully equipped. Just choose a color and off you go!
But you also want to feel and smell a car – how do you solve this problem?
We can pick up our customers very well with the digital means of communication. You can present a car today via a video conference, for example, or configure your own dream model yourself on our website – and finally buy it with “Click & Collect”. Contactless test drives are also still allowed and vehicles can still be ordered and picked up.
How important is your industry in these difficult times?
The pandemic has shown how important the automobile is. At the moment, many people prefer to travel by car rather than public transport. But we also help the public sector to ensure that parcels find their way to customers safely and reliably. More and more parcel delivery services are relying on fully electric transport vehicles such as our ë-Jumpy.
How strong is Citroën when it comes to electric vehicles?
Citroën has always been a pioneer in electrification. We have been offering the C-Zero since 2010, which is 100% electric. Today we offer a wide range of electrified vehicles for both passenger and delivery vehicles. Including the SUV plug-in hybrid C5 Aircross Hybrid with a range of up to 55 kilometers. In the delivery van segment, Citroën is market leader with the ë-Jumpy, which has just been voted “Van of the Year 2021”. In February we are also launching the 100% electric ë-C4, which will set new standards.
Which hobby did you rediscover for yourself in the Corona year?
E bike! Electrification is not only important to the automotive industry (laughs).
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
The new SpaceTourer camper made in Switzerland. In addition to a full kitchen, it also contains two beds and all the amenities you need for mobile camping. I’m already looking forward to driving it with our dealers to Provence in the south of France this summer. We have planned a trip there to enjoy adventure and leisure together. Hopefully by then we’ll all be vaccinated and be able to travel again. We remain optimistic.