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French car maker's sales drop nearly 5%

PSA Peugeot Citroen said yesterday its vehicle sales reversed 4.9 percent last year, owing to a sharp downturn in its key western European markets.

France's largest auto maker sold 3.26 million vehicles last year, down from 3.43 million in 2007. The Peugeot brand reported sales 3.2 percent lower, while cars under the Citroen name saw sales slide 7.2 percent, the company said in a statement.

The Paris-based car maker said its sales in western Europe, where it makes roughly two-thirds of its revenue, fell by 10.5 percent in 2008, due to weak markets in Spain, Britain and Italy.

PSA Peugeot Citroen's sales confirmed the trend already seen at rival Renault SA, which last week reported a 4.2 percent drop in annual sales and warned of possibly worse to come, as bleak prospects have caused auto makers worldwide to dramatically cut production.

PSA Peugeot Citroen gave no sales estimate for 2009.


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