The buoyant European automotive market helped PSA Group to report a rise in adjusted first quarter sales, making up for weakness in other markets such as Algeria.

Europe’s second largest carmaker reported revenue up 1.5 per cent at constant exchange rates to €13bn in the first three months of the year, with global vehicle sales excluding China up 3.9 per cent, writes Michael Stothard.

Gains were driven by Europe, which saw vehicle sales up 5.9 per cent. In China the rise in sales were offset by a negative currency effect.

In Africa and the Middle East, sales fell 22 per cent, mainly due to weakness in the Algerian market. The Algerian economy has been suffering from the fall in the oil price.

The company said it expects the automotive market to grow by 4 per cent in Europe and 5 per cent in China this year. The market in Latin America is expected to call 10 per cent and the Russian market 15 per cent, it said.

Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon, CFO, said:

Despite the volatile environment, I am confident in our performance and the achievement of our goals.

In a strategy launched earlier this year, PSA is targeting a 10 per cent increase in revenue by 2018 compared to 2015, and then a further 15 per cent rise in sales by 2021.

This will be achieved partly by the company starting to manufacture cars in India and Southeast Asia.

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