French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen 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 auto makers, 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 car maker said the proportion of sales it achieved outside Europe rose to 38 per cent in the first half, compared with 35 per cent in the first half of 2010.
It confirmed its target of 50 per cent of sales outside Europe by 2015. PSA said worldwide sales of cars and light vehicles rose 0.2 per cent 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 per cent to 1.65 million.
PSA blamed an “unfavourable market mix” for a decline in European market share, which reached 13.9 per cent in the first half, compared with 14.2 per cent 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 per cent in the first half, against a market decline of 0.8 per cent, PSA said.
Executive vice-president brands Jean-Marc Gales told a news conference the group was sticking with a forecast for a stable European market in 2011 compared with 2010 that it made at the start of the year.By 0848 GMT PSA shares were down 3.3 per cent to 29.05 euros, versus a sector index down 3.0 per cent.
In China, the world’s largest auto market, PSA group sales mirrored market growth of 10 per cent, rising by 10.2 per cent on strong demand for the Peugeot 408 and leaving market share for the two brands at 3.2 per cent.
PSA has called China the “cornerstone” of its drive to become more international.
In Latin America, the group posted growth of 21.7 per cent, in a market up 13 per cent, leaving market share 0.6 points higher at 5.9 per cent.
PSA sales in Russia rose 65.5 per cent in a market up 57 per cent 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 domestic rival Renault posted a 1.9 per cent 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 per cent of first-half sales in the premium segment, versus 14 per cent 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.
From / Gulf Today