Peugeot sticks with optimistic sales targets

Although the automobile business is stagnant, Peugeot aims to stick to its ambitious sales targets for this year.

"There is no reason to change our planning targets," Automobiles Peugeot CEO Frédéric Saint-Geours told Automobilwoche. He said Peugeot aims to keep growing and winning market share in Europe."

Although Peugeot sales in the first quarter declined 7.4 percent compared to the same period in 2002, Saint Geours said that wasn't really much of a problem because last year's figures were so strong.

Furthermore, incoming orders for May are showing a "positive tendency," and for this year there was the prospect of a rising demand for diesel models, the 206 SW, the 307 CC and the 807 people-carrier. Also, Peugeot expects strong development in central and eastern Europe, where Peugeot has reached 7.8 percent market share. In Poland alone, Peugeot sales increased 15 percent between January and March.

Peugeot is also expecting big increases in China. "This is why we have now agreed to an increase in production in the existing plant with our partner Dongfeng, in order to be able to produce 100,000 Peugeots a year there until 2007," said Saint-Geours. From 2004 a "completely new model on the basis of the 307" will also be built in China, probably a notchback sedan.

Saint-Geours is quite happy with recent progress of the brand in Germany, where Peugeot is hoping to reach an early target of 3.85 percent market share.

"But this is still insufficient, because our presence in the market is still significantly lower here than our European average."

The targets from Paris are clear: In 2004 Peugeot has to reach a market share of 4.6 percent in Germany. Beyond that, Peugeot is aiming for 5 percent share by 2007 at the latest, because, according Saint-Geours, Germany is "a reference market in Europe" with "global significance." He sees potential in expanding the dealer network, increasing fleet sales and stronger emphasis on compact and standard size cars.

Saint Geours said Peugeot will increase the use of diesel-particulate filters. Even now, the sales share of its diesel engines equipped with particle filters has reached around 40 percent, and in Germany about 80 percent.

He said Peugeot is working on increasing the lifespan of the filters and is also testing additive-free filters. All new Peugeot diesels will meet the Euro 4 emission requirements in the future. By August, Peugeot will offer two particulate filter-equipped diesels for the 307 - 1.6 and 2.0 liters.

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