PARIS -- PSA/Peugeot-Citroen laid out plans to move its namesake Peugeot brand upscale to help the automaker return to profit after the company posted a record 5 billion euro ($6.73 billion) net loss for 2012.
Peugeot cars will be upgraded to differentiate them more from Citroen models and average volume will double through the automaker's alliance with General Motors Co., CEO Philippe Varin said today at a Paris press conference.
"The Peugeot brand will move toward a more modern image," led by the 208 subcompact's high-performance GTI version and the new 2008 SUV-styled crossover, Varin said. "In 2013, the positioning of our brands will be supported by a very rich range of products and 17 vehicle launches," he said. At the same time, Citroen will not become a low-cost brand, the CEO said.
PSA wants to raise the number of premium-marketed vehicles from the 18 percent of total deliveries last year, Varin said.
Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said Peugeot has been charging more for its vehicles this year, and pricing in Europe will probably be stable throughout 2013.
Philippe Houchois, an analyst at UBS, said giving the Peugeot brand a more upmarket image will be difficult. "It is easy to add content in cars to make it more attractive, but the time for the customer to respond to that can take years." he told Bloomberg Television.