President's Report - June 2002

Greetings All,

Our May monthly meeting proved to be interesting in more ways than one. First, owing to a double booking of rooms at the Italo-Australian Club (not our fault, by the way), we were relocated for the night around the corner in the comfortable clubhouse of the Canberra Bowling Club. The bar was open, and we had the club to ourselves for the evening.

Secondly, our speaker, Toby Field from House of Cars in Phillip, proved to be highly entertaining, enlightening and, dare I say it, honest, about his years of experience in the used car trade. Yes, you heard me folks, an honest used car salesman!

I think we all came away from Toby's talk with a different view of used car yards. As he pointed out, it's a highly regulated industry, and he can't afford to sell dodgy cars - stolen and re-birthed cars soon get found out by the long arm of the law, while mechanically unsound cars mean forking out money on warranty repairs to unhappy customers.

Another myth that Toby dispelled, for me at least, was that used car dealers make huge profits on each sale. In fact he relies more on volume selling, with fairly small profit margins on each sale. And yes, he does actually honour warranties, even to the point that if repairs are required he will err on the generous side. After all, customer satisfaction should be the name of the game in any business!

Speaking of repairs, how are we all surviving in the absence of Bill McNamee? I took the precaution of having both my 405 and 505 serviced before he left, so I feel confident of not needing anything until he returns in August. I daresay other members did the same, or may hold off until August.

One consequence of Bill's absence, which I had not foreseen, is the lack of his expert pre-purchase inspections for intending used car buyers. Often Bill will know the car already. If not he will quickly and reliably assess its suitability for purchase. There have been quite a lot of Pugs for sale in the Canberra Times recently, so I wonder whether Bill's absence has noticeably affected the number of sales?

We have organised a special club meeting for this month. It will be held on the usual date, 25 June, but not at the Italo-Australian Club. The venue instead will be the showroom at Melrose Motors, Phillip. The meeting will begin earlier at 6.30 pm and run until 7.30 pm. This is a chance to see the 206CC, the 307 and the 607 etc. The speaker will be a senior Peugeot executive from Sydney. Supper will be provided. Please RSVP to me on 6249-1507 (W) or 6232-4687 (H) by Monday so that I can liaise with Melrose for catering.

And don't forget the Club Annual Dinner at the Ardeche Restaurant on 13 July, followed by French Car Day the next day at Parkes Place. Please come along with your Peugeot, whatever the condition, and help make it a truly successful day.

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad


Lionising!

Sound impossible? Then think again. Melrose Peugeot have two new Pugs in their showroom for under $10,000. Are these bargain basement prices for a 206 without the extras? Just add your own wheels, engine and gearbox? No, they come with everything included. Think laterally, think two wheels, and you have the answer: Pug motor scooters.

For $5,490 you can buy the "Prost" model, with 100cc 2 stroke engine, or for $7,490 you can have the 125 cc 4 stroke "Elyseo" model. The latter comes with extras that include a small windshield, a digital clock and temperature gauge. Both models have speedos optimistically marked up to 140 km/hour, but I'm not sure I'd like to be on board at that speed.

Brad Evans, Sales Manager, at Melrose Peugeot, reckons they are "a bit of a gimmick", but hastens to add that he'd think of owning one if he didn't need a motorbike licence to ride it. Suggestion, Brad: with Melrose recently acquiring the Alfa Romeo dealership, you'll need a quick way of getting from one end of the yard to the other. And no bike licence required. Now there's a challenge!

Peugeot group chairman Jean-Martin Folz - the man who turned the French car maker into one of he best performers in Europe - doesn't come cheap. He earned e1.73 million last year, according to the company's annual report. Some 51 per cent of Folz's pay award was related to the group's booming financial performance. Since Folz took over in 1997, the group's shares have tripled in value. Peugeot division chief Frederic Saint-Geours got e746,000 and Claude Satinet at CitroÅ’n e745,000. Renault chairman Louis Schweitzer earned e1.1 million in 2001.

Former world boxing champion Barry McGuigan knows a thing or two about knockouts, so he was the perfect Pom to launch Peugeot's new-style Boxer van after the Birmingham Commercial Van Show. The ex-pug and the new Pug were of course located on an elevated stage inside a boxing ring. The vehicle has a three-year or 160,000-km warranty and the company aims for 9 per cent share of the UK van market over the next three years, up from the present 5.7 per cent.

Someone kept topping her glass with buck's fizz, so when Charlotte Wilson-Smith, 39, drove her Peugeot home from the hunt fund-raising breakfast, police observed her weaving across the road and mounting verges. The hunt master just missed an accident with a van. Police caught up with her in the drive of her home and arrested and handcuffed her as she attempted to climb a barbed wire fence into a field. She was three-and-a-half times over the blood alcohol limit, Northampton Crown Court was told. She said she was trying to escape what she thought was a hunt saboteur following her. However, she was jailed for three months on May 31. From the London Daily Telegraph.