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End of year verdict for Ryton

Workers at the Ryton Peugeot-Citroen plant should know by the end of this year what car will replace the successful Peugeot 206, which reaches the end of production in 2008.

Tod Evans, chairman of PSA Peugeot-Citroen in the UK, has not ruled out building Peugeots and Citroens at the Coventry factory in the long term.

Evans said the French car giant will "keep its powder dry and wait until the last minute" before deciding which of its small cars will be made in this country.

Falling European demand has forced PSA to cut back from four to three shifts at Ryton, which had been one of the few plants in the world to operate at that productivity level.

Production will come down from the 'flat out' annual volume of 200,000 cars to between 170,000 and 180,000 units.

Reacting to the possibility of producing both brands on the same UK line Evans said: "It is absolutely clear group policy to develop shared platforms and apply that industrially to build both cars in the same factories.

The 206 did not have a Citroen equivalent but next time round that capability will exist.

"We have the capability of building both at Ryton particularly as the B segment market continues to grow. Obviously market demand will dictate what we do in the future."

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