Peugeot's China venture raises 2014 sales target

SHANGHAI, July 7 Mon Jul 7, 2014 7:30am EDT

SHANGHAI, July 7 (Reuters) - French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen's Chinese joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd raised its 2014 sales target by about 50,000 vehicles on Monday after a strong first-half sales performance.

Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile Co Ltd sold 343,170 vehicles in the first six months of the year, up 24 percent from a year earlier and almost double the industry's growth rate of 12.7 percent.

"Based on a strong performance in the first half and good prospects for the second half, we are adjusting the full-year target from over 650,000 to 700,000 vehicles," the company said in a statement.

China, the world's biggest auto market, is key to Peugeot's turnaround plan as the struggling carmaker seeks to boost its Asia business in order to cut reliance on Europe, where vehicle sales are stagnant.

Peugeot struck a deal in February with Dongfeng and the French government as part of a 3 billion euro ($4.08 billion) bailout that gave the French company much needed capital and greater access to Asia.

Dongfeng Peugeot said its existing three factories in China are at full capacity, producing 2,600 vehicles a day. Last week, Dongfeng Peugeot said it would build a fourth factory in China, part of plans to triple annual sales by 2020.

"New products are the main driver of our robust growth," the joint-venture carmaker said. Dongfeng Peugeot currently sells vehicles under the Peugeot and Citroen brands, and is planning to add Dongfeng's Fengshen range to its portfolio.

In the future, Peugeot's new models and manufacturing technologies will be gradually introduced into the venture.

Peugeot also owns a joint venture with China's Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd that makes the premium car brand DS. ($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Adam Jourdan. Editing by Jane Merriman)