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Peugeot says it never cheated on emissions as its car sales rise

A spectator standing in a yellow Citroen 2CV car waves as the pack of riders cycles on its way during the twelfth 218km stage of the centenary Tour de France cycling race from Fougeres to Tours in this Jul 11, 2013.

[PARIS] PSA Peugeot Citroen said it has been honest on diesel-vehicle emissions and promised new measures to make its vehicles cleaner as rival Volkswagen AG reels in the aftermath of a cheating scandal.

Peugeot said it will also publish real-world fuel economy figures vetted by an independent body for its diesel vehicles soon. The French carmaker, Europe's second-biggest, said it has never fitted its vehicles with software to turn on emissions controls only while being tested, as Volkswagen has admitted to doing.

Peugeot relies on diesel, especially in its home market of Europe. The engine type accounted for about 60 per cent of its European sales in the first half of this year, and 42 per cent worldwide. The automaker Monday reported that its third-quarter revenue grew 3.2 per cent as sales in its home region and pricing both improved.

Revenue advanced to 12.4 billion euros (S$19.9 billion), the Paris-based company said in a statement. This missed the 12.5 billion-euro average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The French carmaker reiterated mid-term targets, including an operating margin of 2 per cent in 2018 for its automotive division. It raised its full-year European market growth forecast to 8 percent from a previous 6 per cent.

Peugeot, which teamed up with Chinese carmaker Dongfeng Motor Corp. to expand sales outside Europe, posted its first annual operating profit in three years in 2014 after shutting a plant, cutting jobs and freezing pay. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares laid out a strategy last year, dubbed Back in the Race, that involves restructuring South American and Russian operations, streamlining the group's product offerings while adding new models at its new DS premium brand.

"Despite a more difficult economic environment in the third quarter," Peugeot has confidence it will reach its targets, chief financial officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said in the Monday statement.