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Monday, 19 January 2015

Peugeot - where sometimes an "open day" means "business as usual"

The French often come in for something of a pasting when it comes to business practices and customer service.

Unfair of course - because each country has its own peculiarities, although admittedly France seems to have more than its far share.

Still, no matter how much you might want to defend them, sometimes the French excel themselves in redefining common sense...and their own language.

Take the case of "portes ouvertes" or "open days" as interpreted by some car dealers in the country.

They've just taken place here with manufacturers eager to entice potential customers with the promise of special offers.

Those can include a 'manufacturer's official) dealer offering to take back your current vehicle at its market price (as defined by the "bible" of second-hand car value in France, the magazine and website "Argus")  and at the same time knocking off up to €5,000 on the purchase of some of models.

Others throw in free service for a year or more and monthly leasing rates without the need to put down a deposit.

In fact, there's almost a glut in the range of "special offers" available, limited to a certain period but repeated with such frequency that they've become almost par for the course.

And to give sales that extra boost, there are those "portes ouvertes" when dealers throw open their doors at times when they would normally be closed...or so you would think.

Because outside of the main metropolitan areas, it can sometimes be difficult to find car dealers who have understood that an "open day" is not the same as "business as usual".

Such was the case this past weekend in the southwestern département of Tarn.

The official Peugeot dealers in the towns of Graulhet and Gaillac (both with populations of around 12,000) proudly announced they would be holding "portes ouvertes".

Only you had to pay attention to the times, because in reality they weren't - "portes ouvertes", that is.

Peugeot 2008 (screenshot from video report by Malcolm Flynn on

The two dealers were open on Friday and Saturday - just as they always are, but closed on Sunday because, as they explained to the bemused potential buyer who turned up then and happened to find someone in the showroom not selling but simply catching up on some paperwork, "portes ouvertes had been on the previous two days."


Now let's take a quick look at the Gaillac dealer's regular opening hours.

Um...Monday-Friday from eight o'clock in the morning until half-past seven in the evening. And on Saturday from eight o'clock in the morning until seven o'clock in the evening.

And those "portes ouvertes"? Friday 16 January and Saturday 17 January (even though an Internet search tells you initially that it was in fact on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18).

Oh well.

Never mind.

There was always a 25km drive to Albi or a 50km one to Toulouse.

Or not.

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