PARIS -- PSA Group's first-half car sales fell 0.2 percent, the automaker said today in a statement, citing difficulties in a weaker, "westernizing" Chinese market that offset a stronger performance at home in Europe.
The European market is likely to see a slight decline following Britain's June 23 referendum vote to leave the European Union, the company also cautioned.
Deliveries of Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars declined to 1.54 million vehicles, falling behind domestic rival Renault in the first half, as sales in China and Southeast Asia slumped almost 20 percent.
"In China we're in the process of adapting to a fast-changing market that is westernizing and no longer in rapid growth," the group's Europe chief Denis Martin told reporters on a call.
Chinese mid-market consumers are gravitating to competitively priced SUVs built by domestic carmakers, putting pressure on western brands. PSA plans to defend its corner with an imminent product offensive that includes five SUV/crossover offerings.
In Europe, PSA's six-month sales rose 7.4 percent to 1.05 million, led by the Peugeot 2008 SUV and Partner delivery van.
Martin said the European market may suffer a "slight slowdown" in the second half following Britain's June 23 referendum vote to leave the European Union. But he maintained the company's 4 percent growth forecast for the full year.