Jackson said the improvements stress the continuing importance of Europe to Citroën’s overall business, and believes the policy of launching a range of new SUV models, most recent of which is the C5 Aircross, is “proof that we are on the right road”. Citroën plans to launch a special collection of centenary models this year and will show two concepts — an urban mobility proposal at Geneva in March, and a “ultra comfort” concept unveiled in May.
Peugeot sales volume affected by Iran and China
Peugeot recorded a far sharper decline in global sales volume in 2018, despite a 5% increase in Europe due to being one of very few brands fully ready for the WLTP emission regulation changes. The brand’s sales dropped 17.9% year-on-year, shifting just over 1.7m vehicles compared to 2.1m vehicles in 2017.
Speaking to Autocar, boss Jean Phillipe Imparato cited the decision to suspend its joint venture operation in Iran as the most prominent factor, as Peugeot sold 445,000 cars there in 2017. Operations were halted in June after the U.S. Government withdrew from the international nuclear deal, imposing sanctions on companies operating within Iran. Alongside that significant loss, Peugeot joined other brands in recording a significant drop in demand from China. The PSA decline was measured at 32% in the region, with Peugeot itself selling “around 150,000 less cars” than it expected to.
Imparato said he is “looking for stability in China”. He talked of an overstock situation in the Chinese car market, claiming there are 800,000 cars that have left the factory and are yet to find a home.
“This is huge,” said Imparato. “You will see many big discounts as brands try to shift these cars. Instead of cutting our prices, we will be modifying our commercial strategy as we did in Europe”. He also claimed that thanks to the influx of finance deals, the used car market in China will jump from 10m vehicles to around 40m vehicles within the next decade.
Imparato also mentioned plans for a return to the North American market were “on track”, but that it will likely be “a 10-year operation”. The firm will shortly be launching there as a mobility services provider but will be analysing the market to see when the right time is to launch standalone models.
Steve Cropley and Lawrence Allan