October 23, 2019 / 5:45 AM / 23 days ago

SUV demand helps Peugeot maker PSA counter auto market gloom

FILE PHOTO: A PSA Group logo is seen behind a car displayed during French carmaker's news conference as they announce the company's 2018 results at their headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, France, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - PSA Group (PEUP.PA) reported a rise in third-quarter revenue on Wednesday on strong demand for its pricier SUV models, but the French carmaker said overall vehicle sales fell, and it lowered outlook for major auto markets.

The Peugeot and Citroen manufacturer, which bought Opel-Vauxhall from General Motors in 2017, said revenue for the July to September period rose 1% to 15.6 billion euros ($17.35 billion).

The company said sales of larger and more profitable SUV models like the Citroen C5 Aircross helped improve its product mix and offset headwinds like unfavourable currency swings.

At a time when China is battling with the impact of a protracted trade war with the United States and slowing economic growth, vehicle unit sales in China plunged 41% in the quarter.

Global vehicle unit sales fell 4% to 674,500, hurt in part by weakening performance in Europe.

PSA said it expected the broader auto market to shrink this year in all major markets, including in Russia, where it had previously projected growth.

Carmakers globally suffer from a slump in demand in emerging markets and are straining to meet stringent new emission targets, pushing them to invest in cleaner models and technologies, as well as consider potential tie-ups.

PSA’s French rival Renault (RENA.PA) cut its 2019 revenue forecast last week and flagged a fall in third quarter revenue, saying it was doubling down on its alliance with Japan’s Nissan (7201.T) to make savings.

Reporting by Sarah White and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Amy Caren Daniel

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