Peugeot eyes China growth

City A.M. Reporter
FRENCH carmaker Peugeot Citroen wants to grow 30 per cent in China this year, with a long-term goal of obtaining an eight per cent share of its booming market by 2016, a senior executive said yesterday.

Several 408 sedans rolled into a cavernous Beijing showroom yesterday for a gala launch ceremony dominated by young Chinese, the brand’s target buyers in the world’s top auto market.

Western carmakers, battered by a deep industry crisis, are relying on emerging markets such as China for growth this year, while European markets are expected to suffer as scrapping incentives wane. Peugeot plans to launch one new model a year following the release of the 408 model.

“Next year it’s a car that’s also a sedan and afterwards again a sedan, because the Chinese market is above all sedans,” said Jean-Marc Gales, head of the Peugeot and Citroen brands.

The 408, which will be available from April and built in Wuhan, China, will allow “significant growth” for the brand, he said. The company is targeting a volume of 100,000 cars a year.

The French vehicle maker operates a car manufacturing joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group in China. Gales said it was also talking to other potential Chinese partners.

“We have a very good cooperation with Dongfeng Motors and ambitious growth plans with Dongfeng,” Gales said.

China’s overall vehicle market should grow 15 per cent this year, he said.

Peugeot Citroen group had achieved a China market share of 3.4 per cent in 2009, Gales said.