Peugeot Citroën targets 10,000 job cuts this year
HARD SHOULDER:PSA Peugeot Citroën plans to shed as much as 10 per cent of its French workforce this year, more than previously announced, as sales slide and management seeks further savings, according to a union official.
“They will raise the job cuts target in France alone to 8,000-10,000,” said Christian Lafaye, the head of Peugeot’s second-biggest union, FO. Europe’s second-largest automaker said in November it aimed to reduce headcount by 6,000 in the region.
Chief executive Philippe Varin told unions last week the carmaker will need to raise its 2012 savings target of €1 billion, according to Franck Don, a CFTC union representative. Peugeot’s five-month sales in Europe have plunged 15 per cent, outpacing a 7.3 per cent industrywide drop.
Dealers await tax change
With new car sales down 42 per cent in June and 13.5 per cent in the first six months of the year, the situation would be far worse if it were not for new company-car sales.
Of the 66,288 new cars registered so far this year, 27,611 were first taxed by companies, a rise of 65 per cent on last year.
Private car purchases have plummeted, down 21 per cent to just 38,326, according to data compiled by motorcheck.ie, the online used-car background-check website.
“With half the year gone and sales down by 10,000 units, business is extremely fragile and levels of activity are set to reduce for the rest of the year, so protecting jobs will be a key challenge for the sector in the months ahead,” says Alan Nolan of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.
“The figures for the month of June show a huge drop, but this needs to be seen in context. June last year was the final month of scrappage, which saw 4,119 cars sold under the scheme, so the year-to-date figure, showing a fall of 13.5 per cent, is more relevant here.”
With falling sales and yet more dealer closures in the past few weeks, the industry is awaiting word from the Government on its plans to revamp the current motor tax and vehicle registration tax regime, due to be included in this year’s budget.
Several car-firm executives have called for early publication of the plans to allow distributors and dealers to adjust their new car orders for next year so they are in line with any changes to the emissions bands. With 92 per cent of new cars falling into the two lowest tax bands, the concern is that any radical changes to the regime will cause a major shift in consumer demand.
Toyota remains the bestselling marque on the market, followed by Volkswagen, Ford and Nissan. The Ford Focus is the bestselling model.
Row brews over new emissions standards
Proposals to toughen EU standards on car emissions have put the giants of the German auto industry on collision course with makers of lighter vehicles, including Italy’s Fiat.
The plan from the European Commission is to enforce a 2020 goal to lower carbon-dioxide emissions to an average of 95 grams per kilometre (g/km). The proposals had been expected to be officially published at the start of July, but a commission spokesman said there was no fixed date yet.
Divisions have gaped wide over how the proposed new binding standard, which compares with a 2015 mandatory target of 130g/km, should be enforced across the European fleet.
Sergio Marchionne, president of the car-industry association Acea and CEO of Fiat, said Acea had been unable to find a unified position.
It’s a coupe, it’s a saloon – no, it’s actually an estate
Mercedes has launched its new estate version of the eye-catching CLS (concept version, below), possibly the world’s first estate made from the basis of a four-door saloon that’s masquerading as a coupé. It’s surprisingly practical, with a 500-litre boot (which expands to 1,500 litres with the rear seats down) under a dramatically sloping roofline. Engines include the existing 250 CDI diesel and 350 CDI V6 diesel, and there will be a V8 AMG version too, but prices won’t be announced until later in the year for Ireland.
Car giants join forces to be good sports
Toyota and BMW have linked up to develop a next-generation sports car. The two companies had already been collaborating on diesel engines, but an agreement announced last week committed them to work together on hybrids, electric-car batteries, lightweight technologies and, most tantalisingly of all, a new sports car. The rumour mill is already turning to the effect that this will be a new generation of Supra for Toyota and a more sporty sister car to the existing BMW 6 Series coupé, but with a light, part-carbon fibre chassis and a hugely efficient hybrid drivetrain.