French automaker PSA on Tuesday warned of significant drop in demand for the sector this year after publishing a 15.6% fall in first-quarter sales but maintained its mid-term operating margin goal.
The owner of auto brands such as Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall is working through a merger with Italy’s Fiat Chrysler but like others has been forced to close plants because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The group stated revenue for the January-March quarter was at 15.2 billion euros ($16.47 billion).
It maintained its target for an average adjusted operating target of more than 4.5% for its automotive division during the 2019 to 2021 period.
“Having secured liquidity and drastically slashed costs, the group is now fully focused on preparing for the rebound in a chaotic economic environment,” Financial Chief Philippe de Rovira said.
PSA said it now expects the auto sector to decline in this year by 25% in Europe and Latin America, by 20% in Russia, and by 10% in China.
Like another French automaker Renault, PSA has been in talks with unions to try and work out a schedule to resume its factories in France with new sanitary protocols.
Its British brand Vauxhall is looking at temperature checks and shift rescheduling to prepare for the reopening of its two UK plants.
France and many other European countries continue to be under strict lockdowns.
Coronavirus has so far infected more than 2,580,729 people and killed more than 178,371 people worldwide.