FRANCE: Renault sales rise mostly outside Europe
Renault group's first half results reflected the month by month pattern earlier in the year: Renault and Dacia brands up, Renault-Samsung down, sales outside Europe growing and entry level model volume up.
Group global sales rose 4.3% in first-half 2008 to 1,325,504 units while global market share was up 0.2 points to 3.8%.
Renault brand sales rose 4% and Dacia sales increased 13.3%. Renault Samsung Motors was off 7.2%.
Sales outside Europe rose 15% to 460,526 units, or almost 35% of total group sales.
Sales of Renault and Dacia-brand entry-level vehicles increased by over 60.9% to 256,756 units.
"Amid a global economic slowdown that had a particularly strong impact on automotive markets in the industrialised countries, the Renault group pursued the growth started at the end of 2007," said Patrick Blain, executive vice president, sales and marketing.
In Europe, off 2% overall, Renault's results varied by market. In Germany, group sales increased 15%, outpacing market growth of 3.7%. Sales also rose the Netherlands (+17.9%), Belgium (+11.7%), Switzerland (+20.7%), Austria (+14.8%) and Poland (+18.4%) but were down 22% in Spain, 12.2% in Italy and 13.1% in UK, which Renault described as "a contracting market impacted by an unfavourable sterling-euro exchange rate". The euro has risen notably against the pound in 2008.
Though year on year sales were up compared with the outgoing model, Renault said sales of its redesigned Laguna had fallen short of expectations.
In Russia, where the market grew 32.3%, group sales increased 25.3% to 56,590 units.
"Logan is the best-selling foreign hatchback sedan in this country. However, we are losing market share because we cannot respond to demand until the planned increase in output capacity becomes effective," the automaker said, adding that Russia and Ukraine posted record first half sales at over 65,000 units.
The group also led in Romania, selling 58,403 vehicles for a 35.6% market share, again driven by the Logan range. Dacia is top selling brand there with 28% of the market.
Sales rose 20.3% in Morocco and 34.5% in Algeria, setting a new record. The group retained leadership in Morocco with 29.8% market share.
South American sales rose 17.7%, driven by Brazil and Argentina.
Group sales in Brazil almost doubled to a new record of 58,792 units and market share was up 1.4 points to 4.4% and Renault became one of the top five brands there. In Argentina, sales increased 8.3% to 40,071.
In Iran, nearly 24,000 Tondar 90 (Logan) units were delivered in first-half 2008 but, Renault said, "production remains significantly lower than customer demand and our objectives".
Renault sales also increased 27% in Israel, 22% in Saudi Arabia and 92% in Lebanon.
But, in South Korea, Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) sales fell 7.5% to 52,559.