Less than 24 hours after Renault reported its disappointing 2001 results (net income virtually flat and it would have been a lot worse but for the positive impact of Nissan), its great French rival, PSA Peugeot Citroën, has reported a healthy gain of 28.9% in 2001 net income.

The results were favourably received by analysts.

Net income for the year was EUR1,691m, up 28.9% from 2000. Earnings per share totalled EUR6.42, an increase of 27.9% from the prior-year figure of EUR5.02.

Consolidated operating margin rose 25% during the year to EUR2,652m, representing 5.1% of sales, versus 4.8% in 2000. Automobile Division operating margin increased by 26.2% to EUR1,992 million, representing 4.8% of sales versus 4.2% in 2000.

The company said that growth was 'led by sales volume gains, an improvement in the sales mix and the sustained reduction in production costs'.

PSA net sales totalled EUR51,663m in 2001, up 11.3% from 2000 on a comparative basis. Automobile Division sales rose by 10.9% to EUR41,524m during the year.

The company cited a number of positive factors affecting sales performance including: 'the successful launches of the Citroën C5 in sedan and station wagon versions and the Peugeot 307, sustained sales of the Citroën Picasso and Peugeot 206, especially the 206CC version, and the growing popularity of the common rail high-pressure direct injection (HDI) diesel engine'.

Outside western Europe, sales of Peugeot and Citroën cars and CKD units rose 22.5% to 587,300 units. In all, worldwide sales of Peugeot and Citroën cars, light commercial vehicles and CKD units rose by 11.3% to 3,132,800 units in 2001.

Faurecia, the Automotive components business, increased sales by 64.6% to EUR9,611m, reflecting the full-year contribution of Sommer Allibert's automotive businesses, acquired in January 2001. Comparable sales were up 14.5%.

Looking ahead, the company said that it is assuming that demand in western Europe will be 'stable to slightly lower in 2002'. A number of new models are being prepared to help the company achieve its target 3.25 million unit sales in 2002. These include the Citroën C3, the Peugeot 307 SW (station wagon), and the Peugeot 206 SW.