PARIS - Peugeot targets at least 250,000 sales outside Europe this year, says Hubert Lehucher, Peugeot vice president in charge of international operations.
'We should reach 350,000-400,000 units at the beginning of the next decade,' he said. Most of the growth will come from Argentina and Brazil, central and eastern Europe, Turkey and Iran.
'In all the countries we consider as targets,' he said, 'we aim at holding a minimum 4-5 percent market share.'
Lehucher's markets last year consumed 207,000 Peugeot units, up 16 percent.
Peugeot plans to increase sales in Mercosur countries from 47,000 in 1997 to 110,000 units in 2000 and 170,000 in 2003.
PSA will open a $600 million plant in Porto Real, Brazil, for a Peugeot and a Citroen model.
Jean-Martin Folz, PSA chairman, will decide on the two models before summer. Insiders say they are most likely to be the Peugeot 206 supermini and a lower-medium car from Citroen.
Sales in central and eastern Europe were up 36 percent, compared with a year earlier, but PSA will not set up a major facility in this area.
'I do not have any $1 billion project in central Europe,' said Folz in late January.
In Turkey, sales rose from 7,800 in 1996 to 18,800 last year, about 4 percent of the market.
'The market will reach 550,000 units in 2000,' said Lehucher. 'We should sell more than 25,000 cars at that time.'
Koc, Turkey's biggest car company, last year built 6,100 Peugeot J9 commercial vans and Partner vans through its Karsan subsidiary. Koc is also a partner with Ford and Fiat.
Iran is equally important for Peugeot.
The car market has jumped from 40,000 units in 1994 to 130,000 in 1997. 'It may reach 200,000 units in 2000,' said Lehucher.
Iran Khodro has made the 405 sedan under license since 1993. Last year, Peugeot sent 22,000 kits to Iran Khodro, and this year it targets more than 30,000. Iran Khodro is the leading carmaker in Iran with the 85,000-unit Paykan, a version of the Hillman Hunter of the 1960s.
Manoutchehr Gharavi, chairman of Iran Khodro, has big expansion plans.
'We will spend within three years about $1 billion to make 250,000 cars per year, instead of 110,000 currently,' Gharavi said recently. Lehucher smiled as he spoke of the plans. 'Some day,' he said, 'Iran Khodro will replace the Paykan.'