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PARIS — French automaker Peugeot Citroen, which is trying to revive its model lineup and contain costs, on Tuesday named former Airbus CEO Christian Streiff as chief executive of Europe's second largest car manufacturer.

He would replace Jean-Martin Folz, who announced in September that he plans to take early retirement after 10 years running Peugeot.

The appointment of Streiff, who resigned from the aircraft maker last month after 99 days in the job, will be submitted for official approval at a board meeting scheduled for Feb. 6, the company said.

But it said Streiff will begin work on Wednesday "and will devote the coming months to meeting the group's teams and getting to know the company."

Like other European carmakers, Peugeot Citroen has suffered lately from an aging vehicle model range and sharply higher raw material costs, exacerbated by weak demand and fierce price competition on home markets.

At Volkswagen AG, Europe's biggest car maker, CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder will step down as chief executive and be replaced by the head of the company's premium Audi unit, the company said Tuesday.

Peugeot Citroen sold 1.7 million vehicles in Western Europe in the first nine months of the year _ down 3.6 percent on the year-earlier period. The company posted a 1.8 percent decline in third-quarter sales and issued a fourth consecutive profit warning.

Earlier Tuesday, Peugeot Citroen unveiled a new line of utility vehicles developed in partnership with Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA. The new range of light vans will replace the existing range _ the Peugeot Expert, Citroen Jumpy and Fiat Scudo _ and will go on sale early next year.

Streiff, 52, had never sought to deny reports linking him to the carmaker's top job, which began appearing in the French financial media in the week before his Airbus resignation.

He left Airbus, which has been struggling with delays to its A380 superjumbo program, saying he wasn't given the "necessary operational powers" to push through the cuts required to turn the company around.

Shares of PSA Peugeot Citroen SA rose 0.4 percent to close at 46.66 euros ($59.27) in Paris before the announcement.
 
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