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PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's deliveries rose for the first time in four years in 2014 as the automaker benefited from a surge in China and recovering demand in Europe.

The automaker's global sales increased 4 percent to 2.94 million from 2.82 million a year earlier, boosted by demand for the Peugeot 2008 and 3008 crossovers as well as the 308 hatchback, PSA said in a statement today.

Global sales of Peugeot-branded cars increased 6 percent, and Citroen registrations climbed 7 percent.

The 2.94 million global volume is still about 18 percent lower than in 2010, when PSA, Europe's second-biggest carmaker after Volkswagen, reported its last full-year growth with record sales of 3.6 million autos.

Group sales in Europe rose 8 percent to 1.76 million units, helped by the successes of the Peugeot 308, voted 2014 European Car of the Year, and the Citroen C4 Cactus, which "has exceeded objectives" since its launch in 2014, PSA said.

"The figures look OK," Sascha Gommel, an analyst at Commerzbank, said. "It's not so much the volume growth that's important for Peugeot right now" as the company pushes to charge more for its cars. "The pricing improvement may play a much more important role."

China success

PSA's sales in China increased 32 percent to 734,000 vehicles last year, lifting its market share to 4.4 percent from 3.6 percent in 2013. China replaced France as the company's biggest market.

Demand in China was propelled by the Peugeot brand's 2008 and 3008, the introduction of the 408 sedan and the Citroen marque's C-Elysee sedan, the division's best-selling model in the country.

"The Chinese clientele wants international brands," Maxime Picat, head of the Peugeot brand, said on French radio station BFM today. "Consumers see them as offering modernity and a guarantee of quality, and that's why these brands are growing strongly.

Latin America, Russia woes

In contrast with gains in China and Europe, PSA's sales plummeted 34 percent last year in Latin America to about 200,000 vehicles amid economic slowdowns in Argentina and Brazil.

In its Eurasia market, which includes Russia and Ukraine, sales plunged 41 percent to 43,800 autos. In Africa and the Middle East, the French manufacturer sold 25 percent fewer cars last year at about 169,400 vehicles.

The Paris-based company emerged from a prolonged European auto market slump in need of a 3 billion euro ($3.8 billion) bailout, which saw the French state and China's Dongfeng Motor each take 14 percent stakes in 2014.

PSA aims to expand outside Europe, which accounted for about 60 percent of the the company's deliveries last year.

PSA and Dongfeng have a target of selling 1.5 million vehicles annually in China by 2020.

The French company is cutting costs by restructuring its Russian and Latin American operations, selling its scooter business and moving its headquarters from central Paris.

PSA also made its DS upscale line a standalone brand in 2014 with DS sales focused on Europe and China. DS registrations in Europe were 85,900 last year. PSA said DS is concentrating on profitable sales channels to preserve its models’ long-term resale value. DS-brand sales in China were 26,000 units in 2014.

PSA may post a full-year profit for 2014 for the first time since 2011.

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That could be good, it was only earlier in the year they were quoted as saying PSA made a net loss of 2.32 billion euros in 2013 and said after its rescue last year it might not return to positive cash flow until 2016.
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