FRANKFURT (Reuters) - PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA) must urgently improve its position in Germany, where it lags peers because it is failing to convince customers of the value and attractiveness of its cars, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares told a German magazine.
“The unsatisfactory results in Germany are apparently due to the fact that German customers are not as convinced of our products as the Spanish, French, Austrian or Dutch ones are,” automotive magazine Auto Motor und Sport quoted Tavares as saying in an interview published on Thursday.
He said PSA needed to improve its image as well as its dealership network in Germany, where its Peugeot and Citroen brands had a combined market share of about 3.3 percent in January to October this year, compared with 21 percent held by the VW brand or 7.1 percent by Opel.
“I do not want to accept that as normal. We must get better in Germany,” Tavares said.
Asked whether he was interested in taking on new investors, he said PSA could remain independent but did not need to do so.
“I’ll talk to anyone. The main point is: If I am talking to someone I want to be in good shape,” he said, while adding he was currently not in negotiations with any one particular party.
PSA expects to be back in the black this year, after swinging to its first profit since 2011 in the first half of this year and despite some headwinds from currency effects and a slowdown in the Chinese market, he said.
“With a return on sales of 5 percent we are back on par with our rivals and not at the end of the field,” he said, adding he expected 2015 vehicle sales to be stable versus 2014.
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mark Potter