PSA Peugeot Citroen SA’s Peugeot brand on Tuesday lowered its forecast for the European new vehicle market in 2003, saying it now sees the market flat at best and 3% smaller at worst, rather than its previous prediction of a 2% contraction at worst, Dow Jones reported.

The news agency noted that the change brings Peugeot more in line with most of its peers, who have been more pessimistic in their forecasts for the European market.

According to Dow Jones, Peugeot managing director Frederic Saint-Geours gave the forecast at a news conference after PSA reported that unit sales for the company’s Peugeot brand fell 3.7% in the first half to 963,000 from a million a year earlier, while sales for its Citroen brand rose 11% to 726,000 from 656,400.

For the group as a whole, unit sales rose 1.9% during the first half to 1.689 million from 1.657 million the same period a year earlier, and PSA said that figure is in line with its target of selling 3.35 million vehicles in 2003, Dow Jones added.