Peugeot First-Half Car Sales Rise First Time Since 2011 on China

Jul 17, 2014 2:30 am ET

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe’s second-largest carmaker, reported its first increase in first- half vehicle sales in three years, buoyed by new models in Europe and China.

Deliveries advanced 5.5 percent to 1.54 million cars and light commercial vehicles from 1.46 million a year earlier, the Paris-based company said today in a statement. Peugeot stuck to its forecast for 2014 growth in industrywide European car sales of 3 percent.

The French manufacturer, which lost money the last two years because of reliance on its home region, has teamed up with Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng Motor Corp. to expand outside Europe, where demand is recovering from a two-decade low. Even with the gain, first-half sales were 17 percent lower than the 2011 peak for the period of 1.86 million vehicles.

“Our Back in the Race strategic plan is producing its initial results,” Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares said in the statement. “However, we need to remain focused on executing our road map, as the external environment is still unstable, particularly in Europe, Latin America and Russia.”

Peugeot’s first-half Chinese sales rose 28 percent to 355,500 vehicles, prompting the carmaker on July 8 to increase the 2014 delivery target for its venture with Dongfeng to 700,000 autos from 650,0000.

Dongfeng and Peugeot said on July 3 that they plan to build a fourth joint vehicle plant in China to respond to rising demand in the country. The carmakers have a target of selling 1.5 million vehicles annually in China by 2020. Peugeot’s sales in the country last year jumped 26 percent to 557,000 vehicles.

Sales in Europe rose 12 percent to 956,000 cars, helped by demand for the Peugeot 308 hatchback, which won Europe’s Car of the Year award in March.