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Peugeot Citroen first-half unit sales rise 1.9%

Reuters / July 08, 2003

PARIS -- PSA Peugeot Citroen said on Tuesday its vehicle sales rose 1.9 percent in the first half of the year as strong demand outside western Europe offset sagging markets closer to home.
Paris-based PSA said in a statement sales of new vehicles rose to 1,689,000 units in the first six months of the year from 1,656,900 units in the same period in 2002.
PSA said this was in line with its forecast of 3.35 million vehicle sales for the whole year.
Citroen cars drove the rise, with sales up 10.6 percent thanks to popular models such as its curvy C3, while Peugeot sales slipped 3.75 percent due to a more limited offering of new cars.
PSA said sales in western Europe nudged up 0.5 percent in a market down 2.8 percent due to shaky consumer confidence, adding this had swelled its market share in the region to 15.9 percent from 15.4 percent.
Other carmakers have been hit harder by the weak western European market, with German rival Volkswagen, Europe's biggest car maker, indicating recently its sales were flat in the first five months of the year.
Outside western Europe, PSA sales rose 5.5 percent thanks to buoyant demand in China, where sales jumped 55 percent, and central Europe, where they rose 29.4 percent.
In Latin America sales fell 12 percent in a tough economic and currency environment, the firm said.
PSA Chairman Jean-Martin Folz, who has carved out a reputation for the firm as Europe's most reliable mass car maker, was forced to warn shareholders in May that meeting his profit targets for 2003 would be tough.
This was due to sliding demand for cars in its key western European markets and a rampaging euro versus the British pound and Latin American currencies which was biting into profit margins.
PSA has motored ahead of competitors Volkswagen and Renault in recent years thanks to a welter of hit models, but its rivals are starting to strike back with attention-grabbing new cars aimed at clawing back market share"

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