PSA Peugeot Citroen Chairman Thierry Peugeot said Friday that government criticism after the automaker announced massive job cuts was damaging the company and creating a "dangerous" situation.
"We are ready to accept criticism, but there are limits," Peugeot said in an interview with Le Figaro, after PSA came under sustained fire from France's new Socialist government over its plans to cut 8,000 French jobs.
"The attacks the company is currently facing have an immediate effect on (investor) perception. This is a dangerous situation," Peugeot said.
Asked if he feared a hostile takeover bid for the company after its shares fell 18 percent following the job cuts announcement, Peugeot said: "Anything is possible. So we must act."
Struggling with falling European sales, PSA, the biggest French carmaker and second in Europe to Germany's Volkswagen, announced last week it would cut 8,000 jobs and cease production at its historic Aulnay plant north of Paris.
President Francois Hollande, elected in May, denounced the plan as "unacceptable" and the government has criticised PSA's corporate strategy.
"We are well aware of the seriousness of the plan to cut 8,000 jobs. These measures are painful, I understand they can cause shock within the company, the government and the whole of the country," Peugeot said.
But he said the company was "forced to adapt" to falling European sales and "cannot stand by and do nothing."
He the said the Peugeot family, which holds 25 percent of PSA's capital, had "total unanimity" on the company's strategy and confidence in chief Philippe Varin.