Peugeot talks partnership with Mitsubishi

20th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 20 (AFP) - PSA Peugeot Citroen Group of France is holding talks with Mitsubishi, the struggling Japanese car maker, to explore avenues for partnership, Peugeot chairman Jean-Martin Folz said Thursday.

PARIS, Jan 20 (AFP) - PSA Peugeot Citroen Group of France is holding talks with Mitsubishi, the struggling Japanese car maker, to explore avenues for partnership, Peugeot chairman Jean-Martin Folz said Thursday.

"It's true, we're in talks with Mitsubishi as with other groups," Folz said at a news conference with the AJEF association of French economic and business journalists.

He said he did not know when the talks would be concluded and did not plan to disclose the nature of the discussions unless they led to an agreement.

Recent press reports in Japan claimed that Mitsubishi will start supplying sport utility and other vehicles to Peugeot on an original equipment manufacturer basis from 2006.

Declining to specify the subjects discussed with Japan's fourth-largest car maker, Folz said: "It's not necessarily 4x4s. There are a lot of other things that Mitsubishi has and that we don't have."

Peugeot has "no 4x4 development project, except to find a partner," he said, adding that the development of a 4x4 model did not seem profitable in Europe at the moment.

Folz reiterated to journalists that Peugeot was not seeking a merger or acquisition but remained open to partnerships in the auto sector.

Peugeot had already confirmed plans to continue its strong development and manufacturing partnerships with peers.

"As far as our relationship with other car manufacturers is concerned, our policy is to seek partnerships. We are not seeking a merger or acquisition or to take a stake in a company. We are open to long-lasting partnerships, as we already have," he said.

Folz said Peugeot was still on track to finalise an agreement "at the beginning of 2005" with Italian auto maker Fiat and Turkey's Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi (Tofas) to manufacture a new light commercial vehicle at Tofas's production site at Bursa, Turkey.

Tofas is a joint venture between Fiat and the group Koc that assembles several of the Italian company's models.

"We are not behind schedule," the Peugeot chairman said. A letter of intent was signed last year.

Folz said he expected the European car market to be flat to slightly positive in 2005.

"Growth in the European market should be zero or higher in 2005," he said.

On China, Folz said he remained "confident in the outlook for growth in the medium term."

He declined to make any comment on full-year results, which the company will release on February 23. After posting a 2.7 percent rise in 2004 full-year unit sales to 3.375 million on January 7, Peugeot gave guidance for a moderate increase in sales in 2005.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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