PARIS, July 6 — PSA Peugeot Citroen, the struggling French car maker preparing a new round of cuts and a likely plant closure, said first-half deliveries tumbled 13 per cent as Europe’s debt crisis hit demand.
Global sales fell to 1.62 million cars and delivery trucks in the first six months from 1.86 million in the same period a year earlier, Europe’s second-largest automaker said in a statement today.
“The Peugeot and Citron brands’ traditionally strong markets, France, Spain and Italy, are in profound crisis,” the company said. European sales plunged 15 per cent.
Paris-based Peugeot is preparing to unveil cuts expected to include thousands of job losses and closure of its Aulnay plant near Paris, in addition to measures announced earlier this year under a €1 billion (RM4 billion) savings programme.
Chief Executive Philippe Varin is scheduled to brief staff representatives on the cuts at a works council meeting next week, ahead of the company’s first-half results presentation on July 25.
Peugeot today denied a report in French weekly La Tribune that it was seeking an emergency loan from the government. “PSA and Philippe Varin deny having asked for a loan from the state,” spokesman Pierre-Olivier Salmon said.
The automaker, which last November announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs as its core auto division swung to a full-year loss, also lost ground in Latin America in the first half.
Deliveries there dropped 21 per cent to 122,000 vehicles in a broadly flat market, hurt by an increase in Brazilian vehicle import taxes.
Peugeot’s sales rose 7.1 per cent and 17 per cent respectively in China and Russia, where Peugeot is adding production capacity to expand from a low base.
Recent model launches such as the Peugeot 208 small car and Citroen DS5 upscale sedan have given the group ammunition to defend its European market position and expand overseas, brands chief Frederic Saint-Geours said.
“In a very tight automotive market environment in Europe, our strategy of moving up-market and globalising our operations is proving to be more relevant than ever,” he said in a statement. — Reuters