PSA Aiming to Raise Market Share in China

PSA Aiming to Raise Market Share in China

China has become a hugely important market for the world's auto firms given its size and steady growth, while the European market has slumped due to the sovereign debt crisis.

SHANGHAI -- Troubled automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen (IW 1000/47) on Tuesday opened a new plant in central China, vowing to raise its share of the world's biggest car market.

The plant in the city of Wuhan has an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles, PSA said without giving figures for its investment.

PSA is struggling to restructure at home with job cuts and the closure of a major plant.

Last year it reported a record loss of 5.0 billion euros and its finance arm had to be rescued with government support.

China has become a hugely important market for the world's auto firms given its size and steady growth, while the European market has slumped due to the sovereign debt crisis.

The new plant, a joint venture between PSA and China's Dongfeng Motor, will boost the venture's annual production capacity to between 450,000 and 600,000 vehicles from 2013, and eventually to 750,000 units in 2015.

The factory will produce two models, the Citroen C-Elysee and the Peugeot 301, and the output increase will allow the joint venture to lift market share to 5% in 2015.

Chinese vehicle sales reached 19.31 million in 2012, when the PSA Group sold 442,000 units in the country.

General Motors last month denied rumors it would inject more funds into PSA, after previously investing $400 million.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that PSA had held talks with Dongfeng on taking a stake in the French firm but the Chinese company has declined to comment.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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