PARIS – PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA said it increased the proportion of its sales of cars and light commercial vehicles outside Europe in the first half as it chases growth in emerging markets.
Like other European automakers, PSA is focusing efforts on fast-growing regions including China and Latin America as economic uncertainty and austerity measures mean sales stagnate closer to home.
The carmaker said the proportion of sales it achieved outside Europe rose to 38 percent in the first half, compared with 35 percent in the first half of 2010. It confirmed its target of 50 percent of sales outside Europe by 2015.
PSA said worldwide sales of cars and light vehicles rose 0.2 percent in the first half to 1.86 million. Excluding sales of completely knocked-down units (CKDs), vehicle kits which are sold for assembly in markets like Iran, sales of assembled vehicles rose 2.1 percent to 1.65 million.
Declining European market share
PSA blamed an "unfavorable market mix" for a decline in European market share, which reached 13.9 percent in the first half, compared with 14.2 percent in 2010. Traditionally strong markets for the group like France, Italy and Spain either showed weak growth or sales declines.
Additionally, the auto sector disruption caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March caused problems with the delivery of electronic components and delayed delivery times for some models, PSA said. PSA sales of cars and LCVs in Europe fell 5.3 percent in the first half, against a market decline of 0.8 percent, PSA said.
In China, the world's largest auto market, PSA group sales mirrored market growth of 10 percent, rising by 10.2 percent on strong demand for the Peugeot 408 and leaving market share for the two brands at 3.2 percent.
PSA has called China the "cornerstone" of its drive to become more international. In Latin America, the group posted growth of 21.7 percent, in a market up 13 percent, leaving market share 0.6 points higher at 5.9 percent. PSA sales in Russia rose 65.5 percent in a market up 57 percent after a deep slump during the crisis, with sales of the locally-assembled Peugeot 308 and Citroen C4 helping.
PSA's commercial results came a day after French rival Renault SA posted a 1.9 percent rise in sales as strong growth in Brazil and Russia offset a weaker performance in Europe. PSA said its strategy of moving product ranges up-market was paying off, with 17 percent of first-half sales in the premium segment, versus 14 percent in the same period a year earlier.
It said the trend would continue in the second half as the ramp-up of the premium small car Citroen DS4 continues after its May launch, the Peugeot 508 has won over 45,000 orders and PSA prepares to launch the diesel hybrid Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 and the Citroen DS5.