PSA Group 2019 sales slump 10% after record 2018

PARIS (Reuters) – French carmaker PSA Group <PEUP.PA> said on Thursday global sales fell 10% last year to 3.49 million units, compared with a record 3.88 million in 2018, as it suffered from declining volumes in China, the Middle East and Africa.

In its European home market, Paris-based PSA’s sales declined by 2.5% in 2019 to 3.11 million vehicles, with its Opel-Vauxhall brand suffering the steepest fall, down 6.4%.

In Europe, helped by an increase in sales of light commercial vehicles (LCVs), PSA said in a statement it “maintained its position by achieving a 16.8% market share in a market that was up a slight 1.3%”. In 2018, PSA’s market share had jumped 3.8 points versus 2017 to reach 17.1%.

According to figures published by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), PSA was outperformed by Volkswagen Group <VOWG.DE> and Renault <RENA.PA> in the European passenger car market.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles <FCHA.MI> (FCA) was on the other hand hit by a 7.3% fall of its passenger cars sales in Europe. PSA and FCA said last month they had agreed on a binding merger in a $50 billion deal that will pave the way to the creation of the world’s fourth-largest car maker.

PSA’s French rival Renault is due to publish its 2019 global sales on Friday.

“2019 was a year of consolidation for Peugeot. The brand completely renewed its B-segment offering to support its sales growth in 2020,” PSA said in its statement, referring to its small passenger car line-up, adding “Citroen had the strongest growth among the top 12 best-selling brands in Europe”.

The DS brand was PSA’s only brand to boost sales globally last year, with an increase of 17.4% to 62,512 units. The Peugeot brand saw a fall of 16.3%, Citroen declined 5.1% and Opel Vauxhall 5.9%.

PSA’s sales in China fell a hefty 55.4% to 117,084 vehicles, a mere 10th of the 1 million-a-year target it had set itself a few years ago.

Sales volumes were also down 22.5% in a contracting Latin American market and 43.7% in the Middle East-Africa region – punished by the group’s forced withdrawal from Iran under threat of U.S. sanctions.

The company gave no sales forecasts for the current year.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten;; Editing by Matthias Blamont and Alex Richardson)