PARIS -- Citroen expects China, India and a continuing focus on SUVs will help the brand to reach its new sales goal.
The brand has lowered its 2022 sales goal to 1.3 million vehicles from 1.5 million, largely because of the closing of the Iranian market, which the brand had planned to enter before the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement.
Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said the brand would reach the target by developing a new market in India with locally produced vehicles, revamping struggling Chinese operations and continuing to launch successful new models such as the C3 and C5 Aircross SUV models.
Citroen's global sales fell 5.1 percent to 992,800 last year.
Jackson will take on a new strategic role within parent PSA Group after leading Citroen since 2014, as PSA prepares for a merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Citroen's new boss will be Vincent Cobee, a former Renault-Nissan alliance executive.
The European market was a bright spot for Citroen last year, with sales up by 1.2 percent (Citroen includes the EU, the EFTA countries, and Balkan countries in the region). Sales in the EU and EFTA were up by 6.4 percent to 636,843, according to the trade group ACEA. Jackson said that Citroen's market share rose to 4.9 percent from 4.7 percent.
That growth was not enough to offset steep declines in China (down 55 percent to 51,200 sales) and Latin America (down 15 percent).
"We are in the process of rebuilding China," Jackson said on Jan. 16 on a conference call with analysts announcing 2019 sales figures for PSA. Jackson said PSA's "Vitality" turnaround plan with joint venture partner Dongfeng was being put into place. That includes "new organization, new products, new dealers," she said.
Citroen will launch the C5 Aircross SUV, including a plug-in hybrid version, in China this year, as well as the Citroen C3L, a small sedan that replaces the Citroen C-Elysee sold in China and emerging markets.