By the end of the year, PSA sold 3.27 million vehicles globally. Sales were up from 3.13 million in 2001 and higher than the 3.25 million it expected to sell.
|PSA’s new Citro?n C3 topped estimates during 2002 with sales of 185,000 units. The company estimated only 150,000 cars would be sold.|
Now the company is forecasting further growth in 2003. Even though the company expects the European market to remain stagnant or drop slightly, it will again buck the trend and see at least a 2.5 percent increase over 2002. That translates into sales of at least 3.35 million vehicles.
Much of PSA’s growth was due to increased sales at its edgy Citro?n unit, which saw sales jump 6.4 percent. The increase was fueled by the launch of the new compact C3 and a 9 percent increase in Xsara Picasso sales — a multipurpose vehicle (MPV).
Peugeot brand sales increased 2.9 percent to 1.96 million units thanks to strong sales of both the 206 and 307 and diesel versions of its vehicles.
By the end of the year, PSA saw its market share increase from 15 percent to 15.5 percent — a large jump in the very competitive European market.
PSA’s main rival, Renault SA, did not fare as well during 2002. The traditionally salesstrong company saw sales fall from 2.413 million units in 2001 to 2.405 million units in 2002.
Even with several new products on the market, Renault expects similar results for this year.
Other global sales results: Poland sales were the lowest since 1995, even with strong sales toward the end of the year. Some 308,000 units were sold during the year with 24,481 sold during December — an increase of 27 percent. While sales started off extremely weak, a strong economy and lower interest rates pushed sales up toward the end of the year. By December, Poland had seen six consecutive months of sales increases.
Experts expect the strong sales will continue into 2003 and end up about 5 to 7 percent above 2002 levels.
Fiat continues to lead the market with 18.3 percent market share. But the Italian automaker’s sales were down almost 30 percent in the market.
In the Czech Republic, sales were down 2.9 percent to 147,754 units. But, like Poland, the country saw a recovery in the second part of the year.
Economic growth, which slowed in the first part of the year, picked up by October. Volkswagen’s Skoda continues to dominant the market with a 50 percent market share. Even though Singapore is suffering its worst recession in more than 30 years, luxury car sales soared during 2002. Sales of Jaguar vehicles are up 27 percent to 345 units compared to 2001 while Rolls Royce sales doubled from one car to two. Lamborghini sales are also up from two units to six. A Lamborghini costs more than $600,000 in Singapore.
In South Korea, imported sales more than doubled topping 16,119 units during 2002 — the most imported cars sold in a year since 1987 when imports were first allowed into the country, according to the Korea Automotive Importers and Distributors Association. A cut in consumptiontaxes spurred the increase along with an onslaught of new models.
Consumption taxes were cut in August from 7 to 14 percent to 5 to 10 percent based on a vehicle’s engine size. The tax cut was most beneficial to luxury car buyers who flocked to BMW and Lexus showrooms making the companies the two largest import retailers in South Korea. Vehicles with engines 2.0 L to 3.0 L were the most popular. European foreign cars held 63 percent of the import market while U.S. and Japanese automakers held 18 percent each.
In New Zealand, a strong economy and an increase in income helped new car sales increase 12 percent during the year. The results are the best the country has seen in more than 10 years, according to the Motor Industry Association.
New vehicle sales totaled 83,743 units with Toyota selling the most vehicles, followed by GM’s Holden unit and Ford. Passenger car sales increased 10 percent to 64,086 units while commercial vehicle sales jumped 19 percent to 19,657 units.
Proton to export to Iraq
Malaysia’s national automaker, Proton, will export 5,000 vehicles to Iraq this year. Proton is expected to ship the 1.5 L Wira sedans to Iraq by August. The company beat out Toyota, Nissan and Peugeot for the export contract. This is not the first time Proton has shipped cars to the country. In 2000, it won a contract to supply 1,500 cars to Iraq.
Mitsubishi to invest in Thailand
Japan’s Mitsubishi Motor Corp. will invest $187 million in its Thailand operations to develop a new truck and expand its capacity beyond its current 120,000- unit per year capacity. The company builds both Mitsubishi and Chrysler cars and pickup trucks at the plant with 70 percent of vehicles built being exported. With the investment, MMC Thailand will launch a new pickup and add new markets to its export list. Toyota also reportedly has plans to double its pickup production in Thailand to 200,000 units a year by 2004.
Mercedes considering China for assembly
DaimlerChrysler is considering assembling Mercedes C- and E-Class cars in China. The company is currently discussing the project with Chinese government officials. If approved, the plan will have Mercedes setting up a joint venture with a Chinese local partner and assemble 20,000 to 30,000 vehicle kits each year. The kits would be shipped from Germany. Fiat still says not selling Fiat SpA continues to maintain that it is not spinning off its car unit even though insiders say executives are considering selling the troubled unit. Instead, the automaker says it reached debt targets set by four major creditors, who reportedly are willing to consider other measures to help with reorganization. Those measures include 8,100 layoffs and slicing debt more than a half.