Peugeot Citroen blames Europe for Q1 sales slump

Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — PSA Peugeot Citroen said Wednesday crumbling automobile markets across Europe lay behind a steep drop in its first quarter sales.

The parent company of Peugeot and Citroen reported a 10.3 percent drop in sales at its automobile division to 8.7 billion euros ($11.3 billion) for the January to March period, down from 9.7 billion euros a year earlier.

Combined Peugeot and Citroen vehicle sales fell 16.9 percent in Europe, where it saw its market share slip as the overall car market fell 10 percent.

In a statement Wednesday the company said it expects the European car market to decline 5 percent over the full year.

Including PSA's car parts and financing arms, total revenue in the quarter fell 6.5 percent to 13 billion euros.

The Paris-based carmaker is battling back from last year's record €5 billion loss as Europe's cratering car market combined with rising raw material prices to hammer earnings.

Peugeot Citroen sold 674,000 fully assembled vehicles globally in the first quarter, a 2.5 percent drop from a year earlier.

Car demand in Europe declined in March for the 18th consecutive month, figures from the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association show. France's new car market fared worse than the European average, falling 14.6 percent in the first quarter compared to a year earlier.

Peugeot's problems highlight the current woes facing Europe's carmakers. Unable to draw on government incentive schemes such as the "cash-for-clunkers" promotions launched in 2008-2009, manufacturers are suffering from falling sales.

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