Plastic Omnium is reporting first quarter sales up 6% to EUR1.5bn (US$1.7bn), with consolidated sales rising 6.7% to EUR1.3bn.

There was sustained growth for the Automotive Division with sales of EUR1.4bn, a rise of 6.9%, while worldwide automotive production was up by 1.2%.

Business was “very buoyant” in Europe, which accounted for 51% of total sales in the Automotive Division.

Growth was driven specifically by: new product launches from Jaguar Land Rover in the UK (bumpers for the new Jaguar XE and XJ models in 2015 and bumpers and tailgate for the F-Pace SUV in early 2016) – as well as the speed-up in development of SCR emission-control systems for diesel vehicles.

After the launch of the Ford Transit in January, Plastic Omnium is now delivering SCR systems to six carmakers: Audi, Porsche, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota. Seven more carmakers will fit the Plastic Omnium SCR system by 2019.

In North America, business was up by 1.3% at constant exchange rates, although it was penalised intermittently in Mexico by production downtimes scheduled by carmakers for model turnaround.

Growth increased in China with business growth of 16% at constant exchange rates with automotive production up by 5%.

The 25 plants now run by the Group in China – of which 13 plants built between 2013 and 2015 – are seeing their plant loadings gradually swell with the numerous new orders now reaching the production line. In the rest of Asia, business is steady while automotive production dropped by 3%

Business in Asia grew by 8.5% at constant exchange rates.

Plastic Omnium is confirming an out-performance target of around five points above global automotive production, which is expected to rise by 2% to 3%.

Last week (18 April), Plastic Omnium signed the sales & purchase agreement for the acquisition of Faurecia’s Exterior Systems.

The transaction, with sales worth some EUR2bn, should be finalised during the second half of 2016 after clearance from European competition authorities.