Peugeot sales dive in first half on weak European market

PARIS (AFP) - French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen on Monday said its global sales plunged almost 10 per cent in the first half of the year, mainly owing to a weak European market.

France's leading but ailing automaker said in a statement that it sold 1.46 million assembled vehicles in the first six months of 2013, being hit hard by a shrinking European market share, which dropped to 12.2 per cent from 12.9 per cent a year ago.

In February, PSA also saw its sales of component kit deliveries to Iran come to an abrupt halt following the tightening of international sanctions. A year ago, PSA sold 142,000 units of the kits to Iran.

On the bright side, the group said it was performing strongly in China - growing "twice as fast as the market" after recording a sales increase of 33 per cent and a market share of nearly four per cent.

And in Latin America, it said sales rose by 20 per cent compared with the same six months last year, with the bulk of the boost coming from Argentina, Chile and Mexico.

It also said its Peugeot 208 model has been well received by the market, with more than 400,000 units having been sold since it was rolled out a year ago.

Hybrid vehicle sales were also strong PSA said, noting the company "maintained its position as Europe's leading manufacturer of hybrid vehicles and its second-place ranking in terms of sales, with a 16.1 per cent share of the European hybrid market."

In its outlook for the second half of 2013, PSA said it plans to launch 17 new vehicles, of which nine will be launched in Europe and eight in the rest of the world.

Last year, PSA reported a record loss of 5.0 billion euros (S$8.2 billion), and its finance arm had to be rescued with government support.

It will release its quarterly earnings statement on July 31.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.