French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen on Monday reported a 3.2 percent boost in year-on-year sales in the third quarter despite China's sputtering economy slowing down activity in the world's biggest car market.
And with the auto industry under a cloud over Volkswagen's pollution-cheating scandal, PSA confirmed Monday its vehicles are not equipped with any device or software that could dupe emissions testing.
The group said sales amounted to 12.4 billion euros ($13.6 billion) in the July-September period compared with a year earlier, thanks to better-than-expected 8.8 percent growth in the European market and robust sales at its equipment subsidiary Faurecia, which accounts for a third of its revenue.
In southeast Asia, a zone which includes China, PSA saw sales plummet by 17.4 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago. For the first nine months of the year, the pace of the slowdown was 4.4 percent.
PSA chief financial officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said during a conference call that "the growth in the European market, which is the motor of our profitability, continues to strongly lead our group."
The French auto group, which returned to profit in the first half of this year, is maintaining its medium-term outlook. In 2015 it expects automotive demand to expand by 8.0 percent in Europe and about 3.0 percent in China but to contract by around 15 percent in Latin America and 35 percent in Russia.
Chatillon added that "despite a more difficult economic environment in the third quarter", the sales results were "a real achievement that gives us confidence about reaching our targets."
PSA's turnaround this year, its first positive first half results since 2011, was attributed to its restructuring efforts and favorable exchange rates.
Regarding emissions, PSA said it "confirms that its vehicles have never been fitted with any software or device that detects emissions testing and triggers a pollution treatment system, including for nitrous oxide (NOx), that is inactive in normal driving conditions."
It also promised to "publish real-world fuel economy figures for its main vehicles as soon as possible, with the process overseen by an independent body."
Peugeot shares fell 1.82 percent to 15.935 euros in morning trade on the Paris stock exchange which was down 0.47 percent overall.