Strong demand for the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo has brought forward PSAs plans to start a third production team at Mangualde in Portugal

Strong demand for the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo has brought forward PSA's plans to start a third production team at Mangualde in Portugal

PSA is to create a third production team at its Portuguese plant in Mangualde in April this year and hire nearly 225 people at the facility by May.

The move comes in response to strong demand for the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo, whose current version has been partly produced at Mangualde, in Portugal, since 2009.

A total of 53,600 vehicles were produced at the plant last year, up 7.8% compared to 2016, representing the facility's highest level of output in more than four years. The two models driving this performance are sold across Europe as well as the Middle East and are also manufactured and sold in Latin America (with production in Argentina).

In 2017, PSA sold a record-breaking 476,500 Light Commercial Vehicles, up 15% compared with 2016. In Europe, the Group had a 20.2% share of the LCV market and captured more than 50% of the LCV market's growth (with its Peugeot and Citroën brands).

In Eurasia, sales were up 55% before taking into account local production of the new Peugeot Expert and Citroën Jumpy, slated for the first half of 2018. In Latin America, sales increased 13%, with an updated range of products.

At the Mangualde facility, where production of new models is scheduled to start in 2018, the Group had planned to create a new team at the end of the year, but this plan has had to be brought forward to April.

The third team will be in place at least until the end of production of the current Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo models and may be maintained subsequently, depending on the popularity of the new models.

"The successes we've had and the arrival of the new models represent a critical milestone for the Mangualde plant and are securing future jobs for its employees," said Mangualde plant manager, José Maria Castro Covela.

"These initiatives will be supported by transformational changes at the plant, as part of the Mangualde 2020 project, which will introduce a new platform and a new vehicle and adjust our manufacturing processes and flows."