A European recovery is boosting revenues for France's Peugeot - but Sweden's SAAB misses forecasts after a ''challenging'' quarter. Are the fortunes of the continent's carmakers actually on the up? Ivor Bennett reports.
REPORTER: Finally, something to shout about. European exposure lifting sales at Peugeot Citroen after a six-year market slump. The group's still making a loss, but with Q1 revenues up 1.9 percent year-on-year, it's on its way back. And so too is Europe, says Auto Express editor-in-chief, Steve Fowler.
STEVE FOWLER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, AUTO EXPRESS: "I would like to think that the worst is behind us now across Europe. I think slowly things will get a little bit better. Whether the rest of Europe will be roaring ahead quite as well as the UK has been, I'm not so sure but I would expect some slow signs of growth throughout this year."
REPORTER: Renault saw UK sales rise by 80 percent in the first quarter. The strong economy giving the market a turbo boost. The group's weak base also helped, but so did this - the Renault Captur. The model's been hugely popular, with SUVs now the fastest growing sector of the market. Overall though, revenues were down. The group's exposure to emerging markets now counting against it. A currency slide put Q1 revenues in reverse by 0.1 percent. Light at the end of the tunnel perhaps, but we're not there yet.
STEVE FOWLER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, AUTO EXPRESS: "I think we may well see a little bit more consolidation in the market. The bottom line is there is still a degree of over-capacity and something has to be done. A lot of manufacturers have already taken some tough decisions. We'd expect a few more tough decisions that have to be made in the near future."
REPORTER: Swedish firm SAAB is one of those finding it tough. Sales and operating profit both missing forecasts.
1. Light at the end of the tunnel is a metaphorical expression which refers to signs of improvement in a situation that has been bad for a long time, or signs that a long and difficult piece of work is almost finished. • As the exams approached, she felt that at last she could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Q1 is business shorthand for the first quarter of the year. The second quarter would be Q2, and so on.
3. See here for an explanation of the expression va va voom.