All through its long and illustrious history, Peugeot has bounced back every time critics tried to write its obituary. Yet again the iconic French car maker is back with a bang with revamped models and reinvented strategies, enchanting Omani customers who are finding the offerings to their liking. Faisal Mohammed Naim explores the lion's den
To Abdul Nasser Al Adhawi, his 'Blue Babe', with whom he spends most of his time, is not just a car, it is his second home… And for Hussain Ali, it was not just the iconic lion, but also her power and poise which swept him off his feet… That's how Peugeot owners look upon their passion on wheels!
From going to office in the morning to coming back, and then taking his kids out for ice-creams, till he gets back home after seeing his friends, most of Abdul Nasser's daytime is spent in his car, or "Blue Babe", as he likes to call her. A proud owner of a Peugeot 207, so much is the 36-year-old in love with his 'babe' that he goes on to say it has been the best thing that has ever happened to him after his family.
And Abdul Nasser is not the only one in love with the car having a lion sitting on its nose, Peugeot cars, of late, seem to be attracting the fancy of customers in Oman. With its European label and cheap Japan like price tags, the brand, famous as maker of the best European normal cars, is fast catching the attention of customers. Year 2013 proved to be a turnaround for the brand. Undergoing a major rehaul, it strongly made its presence felt, with its revamped model line-up in the mid-luxury segment, other-wise dominated by Japanese and Korean brands. Within months of its relaunch, the brand's flagship model, the 301, bagged the Small Sedan Car of the Year award recently at the Middle East Motor Awards 2013, confirming the marquee brand's successful comeback in the GCC markets.
Said Gurdeep Singh Multani, Brand Manager, Peugeot Oman, "We have registered a growth of 34% in car sales in 2013, owing to the renewed models and strategies. Having European genes, and competing in the price range of Japanese and Korean models, the cars are already taking the market by the storm".
For Abdul Nasser, it was the unique shade of the car, which made him go for it. "I found the turquoise blue colour of the car very fascinating. It was love at first sight, and I immediately booked it. I was even offered extra money by other customers to go for another colour as there was only this one model in the colour, but I turned the offers down", he recounted, laughing. The day isn't over for Abdul Nasser until he has spent enough time caressing his car in his garage at his home in Seeb.
"After 1,60,000 km on board, I find myself all the more in love with my babe".
For Hussain Ali, an expatriate from Miami, for whom partying with friends every night is a must, his 208 comes handy in the cramped traffic lanes in the wee hours. "Compact and fast, it is tailor-made for the roads in Muscat. It drives fast, and it moves swift. This is the most perfect all purpose city driving car having enough power, perfect balance, and compact size, making it absolute fun driving in the city", said the 28-year-old, adding he owned 4 cars, including a big 4x4, but Peugeot was the one he enjoyed driving the most.
Quite amazingly it was the brand logo that attracted Ali to buy the car. "The thing that excited me the most about the car was its logo. The pouncing lion caught my fancy instantly. Plus it is a European brand for a low budget which made it a must-have for me".
Another Peugeot customer, Jamal Abdullah Al Balushi, from Nizwa, who has a big family of 15 members including grandchildren, said the brand provided the ultimate solution for his needs. "I have a big family and needed different cars for different occasions. With so many quality options within a reasonable budget, Peugeot turned out to be the perfect option", said Al Balushi, general manager of a reputed business firm, who owns six differ