Peugeot to win German market on Opel sale image

PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe’s second-biggest carmaker, said the sale of General Motors Co.’s Opel unit to Magna International Inc. will unsettle customers and help it win a bigger slice of the German market.

As part of a push into the region’s biggest car market, Peugeot’s 5008 minivan will go on sale there first, competing with Opel’s aging Zafira, Executive Vice President Jean-Marc Gales said at a briefing yesterday. Opel sales may be hurt by consumer concern about the unit’s long-term future, he said.

“It gets harder for a carmaker when their clients don’t know where they’ll have to go for spare parts,” Gales said at the briefing.

Magna International Inc.Image via Wikipedia

The Paris-based company has recruited Thomas Bauch, an Opel executive, to spearhead Peugeot sales in Germany.

GM may sign contracts on the sale of Ruesselsheim-based Opel as early as this week, Fritz Henderson, the U.S. company’s chief executive officer, said yesterday. While Aurora, Ontario- based Magna has reached a labor agreement with U.K. unions, talks in Spain broke down without a deal.

Peugeot Citroen rose 3.9 percent to 23.66 euros in Paris trading. The stock has gained 95 percent so far this year.

German government-backed sales incentives worth 2,500 euros ($3,720) per vehicle have spurred demand for smaller cars, helping Peugeot and Citroen to lift their combined market share to 6.5 percent from about 4 percent previously.

The two brands aim to maintain or improve upon that position in 2010 by adding German fleet dealerships to harness an expected recovery in demand for company cars, Gales said.

Sales Target

Peugeot is targeting 80,000 annual sales of the 5008 mid- sized people carrier as it seeks to lure drivers from the Zafira, introduced in 2004, as well as Ford Motor Co.’s C-Max and Volkswagen AG’s Touran, said Gales, the company’s second- most senior executive.