The factory, opened with Dongfeng Motor Corp. in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, will produce the Citroen C-Elysee and Peugeot 301 sedans and increase the company’s annual capacity by two-thirds to 750,000 units by the end of 2015.
PSA’s expansion in China contrasts with its job cuts in France. The money-losing Paris-based automaker, which produced 40 percent of its vehicles at home last year, reported a 576 million-euro ($750 million) operating loss last year and has started implementing a restructuring plan that includes closing a factory on the outskirts of the capital and eliminating 11,200 positions in the country.
“China is probably the only way for PSA to get out of their difficulties in Europe,” said Klaus Paur, global head of automotive at industry researcher Ipsos in Shanghai.
PSA’s reliance on Europe has “amplified” its problems, he said. European car sales fell to a 20-year low in May as record joblessness caused by a recession in the euro area reduced demand at PSA, Renault, Fiat and General Motors.
Political leaders are seeking ways to revive a shrinking economy weighed down by the sovereign-debt crisis, with unemployment in the 17 countries using the euro reaching a record 12.2 percent in April.