The European car market has bottomed out and should even notch up modest growth next year, the head of French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, Philippe Varin, said Tuesday.
"I have the feeling that for our company and for the automobile sector as a whole, the worst is behind us" in Europe, Varin told reporters on the sidelines of the IAA auto show which opens this week.
"The contraction of the market will slow" in the second half of this year after it shrank by around 7.0 percent in the first half, Varin asid.
The number of new car registrations will show a shortfall of around 5.0 percent at year-end, he predicted.
The burgeoning recovery will continue next year and "growth will be slightly positive" in 2014, Varin said.
PSA, France's biggest maker and the number two in Europe, is counting on new models such as the Citroen C4 Picasso and the Peugeot 308 to boost its performance.
"We have reason to think that our market share will be better at the end of this year," Varin said.
PSA generates more than half of its sales in Europe and was therefore hit hard by the downturn in that market since 2007. In response, it is seeking to strengthen its position abroad in markets such as China, Russia and Latin America.
"The situation is mixed in emerging countries," Varin said.
"The Chinese market is continuing to grow at a significant rate" and PSA is outperforming the market there.
In Brazil, however, "the situation is more difficult" and in Russia, PSA's models are not in the market segments that were growing fastest.
"We can't make any radical changes in the short term, but we're examining our strategy," he said, without providing any more details.