French supplier Valeo posted EUR3.04 billion ($3.95 billion) in sales in the first quarter of 2013, compared to EUR3.03 billion in sales in the same period in 2012. The rise in Valeo’s first-quarter sales was primarily due to gains in China and North America that helped offset dismal results in Europe. The French supplier reiterated its full-year forecast of a 4-percent drop in automotive production in Europe and a 1-percent growth in global auto output, as well as steady prices of material prices.
Valeo also reaffirmed its 2013 targets that had its sales growing faster than production in its major markets. The supplier expects its 2013 operating margin to be "in line" with last year's level. Valeo is paying more focus to safety, comfort and environmental technologies to increase margins. Valeo chief executive Jacques Aschenbroich vowed in 2012 to double revenue from fuel-saving parts to EUR1 billion by 2013.
In March 2011, the supplier set a target of boosting annual revenue to EUR14 billion by 2015. Aschenbroich said in a statement that Valeo's performance in the first quarter proved the strength of the company’s strategy that is based on innovations and the expansion in Asia and emerging countries.
Europe-based carmakers Volkswagen, Daimler, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Renault all posted declines in revenues in the first quarter of 2013, succumbing to the slumping vehicle market in Europe. New-car registrations in Europe dropped 10 percent to a record-low of 3.1 million cars in March. Vehicle sales in Germany, once regarded as a resilient market, slid 17 percent, according to industry association ACEA.