In remarks to the media at the Frankfurt IAA, Jean-Martin Folz, Chairman of PSA Peugeot Citroën, discussed the increasing importance of fuel-efficient vehicles to the auto industry, and outlined his company’s short- and medium-term approaches in that area.
PSA Peugeot Citroën is Western Europe’s second-largest carmaker, with a marketshare of 14.5%. The company holds a 32% market share in the segment of vehicles emitting fewer than 120 g/km CO2, and it sells more than 60% of the cars that emit fewer than 110 g/km. (Not that these are large percentages in the context of the overall market.)
Our fourth and final advantage is our leadership in fuel-efficient vehicles, which today is a key driver of future growth.
The current rise in oil prices is clearly a major challenge for the world’s economies and in particular for the automobile industry. As a result of dramatic increases in the price of a barrel of crude, customers are expected to take a harder look at their car’s fuel efficiency. At PSA Peugeot Citroën, our ongoing strategic focus in recent years has been to find solutions to reduce consumption that are affordable to as many consumers as possible.
That’s why we feel we’re especially well equipped to confront the current crisis.
PSA has a four-part approach to delivering continued decreases in fuel consumption.
Ongoing development of the diesel engine. “Each time a gasoline engine is replaced by a diesel engine, consumption at equivalent performance is reduced by 20%.”
Revitalization of its gasoline engine lineup in partnership with BMW.
Encouraging the use of biofuels—especially, given the company’s diesel focus, biodiesel.
Diesel hybrids. The company introduced the Citroën C3 Stop & Start last year as a first step in hybridization, and is currently working on a hybrid solution with the development of a very fuel-efficient hybrid diesel/electric car.
For PSA, hybrids currently only make sense in a diesel application, not in a gasoline application.
I feel we should be clear that hybridization is interesting from a technological perspective, but it is and will remain very expensive, so its environmental benefits need to be studied closely.
If hybridization involves combining a gasoline and an electric engine, the benefits are comparable to those provided by substituting diesel engines for gasoline engines, except that one of these solutions is much less costly than the other. That’s why I believe there is no real advantage in developing hybrid gasoline engines in those parts of the world where diesel engines are well established. Only a hybrid diesel engine is attractive because it offers both benefits.
PSA Peugeot Citroën has tripled its sales and its net income since 1998, it has no debt, and it is expanding rapidly in China and Latin America. This year, the company expects to sell one million vehicles outside of Europe for the first time.