PARIS -- PSA/Peugeot-Citroen has blamed the weak European car market for its decision to cancel a weekend shift created a year ago to meet then-surging demand for the Peugeot 307.
The Sochaux, France, plant had been scheduled to work weekends until the end of this year. PSA says the shift will end in August.
But some PSA rivals are defying the market slump.
Toyota is adding shifts to boost capacity in Burnaston, England, and Valenciennes, France.
PSA has been Europe's fastest-growing automaker in recent years. It also has suffered the smallest percentage decline -- 0.1 percent -- among volume manufacturers in 2003. But to many analysts, PSA's years as investors' favorite carmaker are ending.
French bank Societe Generale last month reduced its recommendation on PSA to "neutral" from "buy," citing a less favorable product cycle.
The 307 is two years old, a drawback for customers hungry for new models. PSA's only new model so far this year is the Citroen Pluriel, a derivative of the C3.
For the first time since taking over in 1998, PSA Chairman Jean-Martin Folz warned shareholders recently that the company's financial objectives for the year would be tough to reach.
PSA's initial 2003 target had been an operating profit between $3.5 billion and $3.6 billion and a profit margin on car operations between 5 percent and 5.2 percent.
Folz was more optimistic on volume, saying PSA was in line to sell 3.35 million cars.
Folz blamed a "difficult economic and monetary environment" and the rise of the euro against the currencies of several key export markets, including the United Kingdom, Poland and Brazil.