The PSA Group achieved record profitability in 2019, despite its new car sales falling by more than 10%.
This came despite new vehicle sales falling 10.3% year-on-year to 3,479,096.
PSA said the rise in profit was due to cost savings from the further integration of Opel/Vauxhall into the group and from efforts to reduce the complexity of its product lines, trimming production spending. It also cited increasing sales of higher-margin models, such as SUVs.
The PSA Group is in the process of merging with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), creating the world’s fourth-largest car maker. The merger is ongoing, with both sides expecting it to be finalised either late this year or early in 2021.
In Europe, the five PSA brands sold a total of 3,019,729 new vehicles, a 2.8% decline on 2018. The firm particularly struggled in China, where sales slumped by 55.4% to 117,084, and recorded substantial declines in the Middle East and Africa (-43.7%) and South America (-22.5%).
Peugeot continued to be the PSA Group’s most successful brand, taking 1,453,823 sales, although this was down 16.5% year-on-year. Citroën sales were down 5.4% to 989,853 units, although the brand did post a 0.8% increase in Europe. Vauxhall/Opel sales fell 6.2% to 973,431, while DS sales increased 16.4% to 61,989.
As with other firms, the PSA Group has invested heavily in the electrification of its line-up and says it is on course to avoid paying any fines for not meeting the European Union’s 95g/km average fleet CO2 target that will come into force this year.
PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares said: “We're ready for the energy transition, and all teams are focused to offer a clean, safe and affordable mobility for customers. Based on our business model and fighting spirit, which has proved to be efficient, we are eager to enter a new era with the projected merger with FCA.”