Peugeot is planning to increase the number dealerships in South Africa to 24 this year after opening two more in December and three more are scheduled for the first half of 2003.

Peugeot is planning to increase its dealerships in South Africa to 24 this year after opening two more in December and three more are scheduled for the first half of 2003.

The French manufacturer currently has 16 dealerships. The two new dealerships opened in December in Pretoria's Menlyn Park and Johannesburg's Northcliff suburbs. They are full-service outlets offering sales, service, spares and used car facilities.

They are part of Peugeot's international corporate identity policy for retail outlets. Dubbed "Blue Box", the company says it is designed to reinforce the brand's visual identity and help personnel meet customer needs in an effective manner.

The dealerships have interactive terminals to provide a self-service facility and circular, semi-open information desks are positioned near the vehicles and manned by Peugeot sales consultants.

Other features include forum areas with a café and space for children to play, and a boutique. An additional maintenance offer, Peugeot Rapide, will soon be available as a while-you-wait quick-service/repair facility for customer convenience.

"Blue Box" has already been applied at a number of Peugeot outlets, making South Africa one of the first countries outside Europe to adopt the new branding. Only six outlets still need to undergo the conversion. This is expected to be achieved by mid-year.

"Our dealers are continuing to show confidence in, and commitment to Peugeot," said Thierry Poirat, managing director of Peugeot Motors South Africa. "While we are helping them in a number of ways, the actual capital investment to change to Blue Box comes from the individual owners of these businesses, and clearly they see a long-term opportunity through the brand."