The 6,500-strong French service station network of oil mammoth TotalFinaElf is to be restructured as the group battles to hold on to market share.

The flagship Total brand will be extended from the current 2,500 stations to 4,000 by the end of next year, all providing extensive customer services and mechanical help alongside fuel at premium prices.

Many of the new Total outlets will be converted Elf stations, as the latter brand is transformed into a no-frills discount network.

Elf is currently the nation’s largest station brand with 2,800 sites across France. In its new guise, it will target the budget market increasingly served by grocery chains, which now sell 57% of French gasoline. Redesigned Elfs will appear close to such retailers on out-of-town sites, all distanced from their Total cousins.

In addition, local brands such as Nervol, Elan and Charvet will be preserved in rural areas, totalling 1,500 stations by the end of 2003.

TotalFinaElf will spend over €60 million ($56.5m; £38.6m) redesigning its station brands, but there are no plans for a special ad campaign to coincide with the overhaul. The move will be handled as part of the company’s general advertising strategy, creative duties for which are handled by CLM/BBDO in Paris.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff