Proving itself in China is fundamental to global success, says PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares, who is confident its new SUVs will help its goals

The success of the PSA Group's brands, Peugeot, Citroën and DS, in China is fundamental to showing its capabilities globally, according to boss Carlos Tavares.

“China is the biggest market in the world. We want to become a global car maker, so it is important for us to be successful in China,” said Tavares.

He acknowledged that “so far this is not the case” and that the company “is not going in the right direction” in China. Sales dropped by around 16% in China and south-east Asia last year, due to a pricing war that led PSA to restructure its activities to reduce costs.

Tavares, speaking at the Citroën C5 Aircross reveal in Shanghai, added: “Being successful in China shows we are capable of being a global car maker. That’s why it’s strategic for us to be here."

Tavares said with all its brands now offering fresh, competitive SUVs – Peugeot’s 3008 (called 4008 in China) and 5008, the C5 Aircross for Citroën and the DS 7 Crossback – it was now in a good position to fight back. “The good news is that many things can be improved,” he said. “Now the implementation needs to be done."

With Peugeot and Citroën evidently the biggest of the three brands in China for PSA, Tavares said DS’s main problem was a lack of awareness. He said a premium brand “needs roots, which takes time”, but he added that it is the only French premium automotive brand that is exporting its products, giving the brand a unique selling point.

When asked whether PSA was too Europe-centric to be a serious global contender, Tavares said he did not see any contradiction between the two.

“There is nothing wrong with being European; we make most of our money in Europe. And the more money we make, the greater our capability to invest overseas.”

PSA announced last year that it was re-entering the North American market – a key factor to becoming a global car maker – with a Peugeot mobility service, essentially a car sharing scheme.

“We want to understand the US consumer,” said Tavares, “and a mobility service is a much less risky business than selling cars in the country.”

Meanwhile, PSA’s purchase of General Motors’ European arm, Opel, will be complete by the end of this year.

Read all the Shanghai motor show news here 

Read more about PSA's purchase of Opel 

Our Verdict

Peugeot 3008

Peugeot’s awkward high-rise hatchback turns stylish compact SUV

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21 April 2017
With Peugeot, Citroen and DS making the same car with different looks and Opel doing the very same soon, are they not worried about stepping on each other's toes?. To me it makes more sense to merge Citroen with DS so Citroen is the premium brand (which has the history) and DS should be the top of the line model. Peugeot can then be the sporty brand with Opel the luxury premium mass producer.

If Proton is bought, then it could be the budget brand.

22 April 2017
I guess PSA is trying to emulate the Japanese , note; Lexus,Acura & Infiniti.

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