PARIS -- PSA/Peugeot-Citroen has denied a report saying it would extend voluntary redundancy offers or retraining to a larger group of French workers than planned. As part of a money-saving restructuring program, the automaker is targeting 1,900 voluntary job losses in France from a total of 6,000 layoffs in Europe.
A PSA spokesman said the company had not increased its goal of getting 1,900 of its workers in France to volunteer for a buyout or a retraining program. He declined to make any further comment.
On Wednesday, a source told Reuters that Europe's second-biggest automaker is rolling out its buyout program through voluntary redundancy offers or retraining to more employee categories. Reuters said the source asked not to be identified because the plan had not been announced.
The program, initially reserved for roles deemed overstaffed, will be extended to other categories where staffing levels are sufficient, the source said.
The overall target of 6,000 European job cuts, announced by CEO Philippe Varin last September, includes 2,500 positions at external suppliers and service providers and 3,500 within the company -- to be achieved through non-replacement of workers who resign or retire as well as voluntary departures.
PSA, which is heavily exposed to European markets suffering under the region's debt crisis, is trying to make big savings through a number of measures.
Net debt at the carmaker last year more than doubled to 3.4 billion euros at the end of 2011. To combat this, the company has embarked on a range of money-raising efforts in 2012 that include the sale of its 48-year-old headquarters building and the issue of 1 billion euros in shares at a 42 percent discount.
PSA also agreed to a partnership with General Motors Co. aimed at reducing purchasing costs and development spending in an effort to revitalize European operations. As part of the deal, GM bought 7 percent of the French carmaker.
None of those efforts will do much to overcome PSA's overcapacity problem. The manufacturer said its European capacity utilization rate dropped to 83 percent in the first quarter. Its full-year capacity utilization rate will be about 75 percent, according to IHS Automotive estimates.
In the first four months, PSA sold 540,102 cars in the EU and EFTA countries, down 13.5 percent from the same period a year before, according data from industry association ACEA.
Reuters contributed to this report