Renault SA's posted net income slightly down in 2001 at EUR1,051m, versus EUR1,080m in 2000. However, the results would have been considerably worse but for a positive contribution of EUR497m from Nissan.

Operating margin slumped from declined from EUR473m from EUR2.022b in the previous year. The company blamed weaker international sales, hit by crises in Turkey and Argentina, as well as the impact of higher R&D expenditure prior to a period of major product renewal for Renault.

It was also noted by the company that vehicle prices were cut in the UK, while equipment levels were enhanced also and the costs of that were not passed on to the customer.

An ageing model line-up has also adversely affected Renault's competitive position, particularly in Europe.

Renault is planning a major model revamp over the next few years. Some 20 new models across the group's car and commercial vehicle ranges are planned over the 2002-2004 period, 15 of which will be on the Renault nameplate. The company says that the action will bring the average age of the range to slightly above 3 years by 2004, versus approximately 4.5 years in 2001/2002.

In calendar year 2001, the combined Renault-Nissan Group sold approximately 5 million vehicles globally. Nissan sold around 2.6 million and Renault 2.4 million units.