Groupe PSA's 2018 vehicle sales tally was dented by lower sales in China but boosted by the full-year impact from its acquisition of Opel-Vauxhall in 2017.

Overall, the company reported a new record for sales in 2018 at 3.9m units, up 6.8% on 2017's total.

However, the overall total was distorted by the impact of the addition of the Opel-Vauxhall brands to the group's numbers (2017: 403,933 units; 2018: 1,038,057 units). With that distortion removed, total sales for the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands last year were down 12% at 2.84m units.  

Like other OEMs, PSA has been hit by contracting sales in China. Last year, the world's largest vehicle market fell for the first time since 1990 .

PSA Group sales in China and SE Asia were down 32.2% in 2018, to 262,583 units. PSA says it is 'working on action plans with its partners to tackle current issues'. It is also implementing its electrification strategy with the Fukang brand, and the 'core model strategy is under execution to propose a product offering designed for Chinese clients'.

PSA said the overall sales increase for the 5th year in a row comes 'with improved pricing power, in a context of economic and geopolitical headwinds' and claimed the core model strategy as a trigger with successful new launches. It said that SUV models are particularly successful driven by the Peugeot 2008, 3008, 5008, Citroën C3 Aircross , C3-XR, C5 Aircross, DS 7 Crossback, Opel/VauxhallCrossland X, Mokka X, and Grandland X.

In Europe, PSA said it was helped by 'perfectly managed' new WLTP standard implementation phase to gain a competitive edge in the last four months of the year (some OEMs, most notably VW Group, did not fare well with testing regime switchovers). Group sales in Europe last year were up 31% to 3.1m units. With Opel-Vauxhall sales taken out, combined sales for the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands in Europe reached 2.1m units, 5% ahead of 2017 (in a market that was down).

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares highlighted the company's agility and model strategy."In an increasingly unstable environment, we thrived with the rigorous execution of our efficient core model strategy. The product appeal to our B2B or B2C customers supports our pricing power policy for all of our brands, while we are currently implementing our electrified offensive. Agility and Darwinian spirit are more than ever important to tackle forthcoming challenges and enhance our customer satisfaction," he said.