PARIS -- PSA Group's 2018 vehicle sales increased by 6.8 percent to a record 3.88 million, as a slump in China and other regional markets was offset by the integration of Opel sales and a strong performance in Europe.
Unlike other automakers, PSA suffered little disruption from the EU’s new WLTP certification process that came into effect on Sept. 1.
PSA's Europe chief Maxime Picat said the company's ability to meet the deadline for certifying all models and variants under the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure, or WLTP, gave it an advantage in the second half.
PSA models were able to meet tougher emissions standards under the WLTP because engineers had equipped diesel models with more-efficient Selective Catalytic Reduction technology, or SCR, by 2017 while other companies had to rush it into production, Picat said on a conference call on Tuesday.
PSA gasoline engines were fitted with particulate filters well ahead of the tests, he said.
In addition, Picat cited PSA Group's "core model strategy," which has reduced the number of models in each brand's lineup. "It was easier for us to prepare for homologation for all our range than for some of our competitors," he said. Automakers with many models and variants, such as VW Group, faced bottlenecks at both in-house test benches and external certification facilities.
Sales of the group's four brands -- Peugeot, Citroen, Opel/Vauxhall and DS -- increased a combined 31 percent in Europe and market share rose 3.8 percentage points to 17.1 percent, with the first full year of Opel sales on PSA's ledgers and strong growth from Peugeot and Citroen, each up more than 5 percent.
PSA remains heavily dependent on its home region. European sales were 3.1 million units, nearly 80 percent of global volume.
Excluding Opel/Vauxhall, sales of the other brands fell by 12 percent globally to 2.9 million units. In Europe, sales were up by 5 percent without Opel.