Peugeot Citroen Hits Target as Sales Rise; AUTOMOTIVE
Europe's second biggest automotive group PSA Peugeot Citroen hit target for 2008 sales volume to rise five per cent as first-quarter volume increased 6.1 per cent.
Peugeot closed its Ryton plant last year with the loss of 2,150 jobs but opened a pounds 25 million headquarters, Pinley House, in Coventry.
The building, on the site of the old Humber car works in Lower Stoke, will be home to 500 staff relocating there from the old building in Aldermoor.
It employs 1,000 staff between its new headquarters and a parts centre at Tile Hill.
The group said yesterday it had 2.3 per cent higher first-quarter revenues of pounds 12.12 billion, below an average forecast of pounds 12.21 billion.
The group said it would have product launches in the second quarter that would boost sales.
Chief financial officer Isabel Marey-Semper said it was maintaining its 2008 operating margin guidance of 3.5 per cent. She said car inventories were up slightly because of pending car launches.
"We are on track with our expectations and we expect growth to be stronger in the rest of the year," she said.
Ms Marey-Semper highlighted the firm's vulnerability to the weaker pound.
Any one per cent swing in the euro-pound rate would have an impact of pounds 27.89 million on fullyear operating income, before hedges.
She said the heads of the Peugeot and Citroen brands were monitoring the situation for profit margins for the cars on the UK market.
Reviewing Peugeot's first-quarter performance by region, she said the decline in the group's unit sales in Western Europe were due to double-digit decreases for passenger car volumes in Spain and the UK.
In China, the car maker improved its growth last month to the level of the overall market, and is aiming to match this for the year as a whole.
Ms Marey-Semper said the company did not expect any impact from calls in China for a boycott of French products, following the hostile reception to the Olympic torch procession in Paris. …