Renault's global sales fell 16.5% in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year to 1.1m units. But the company, which is due to publish full results on 30 July, said that it generated "significantly positive cash flow" thanks to its cost-cutting measures introduced in February.

Renault says its share of the global car market increased by 0.1% in the first half to 4.3%.

The company also says that its full results will show a "negative operating margin in the first half".

PSA Peugeot Citroen said last week that its global sales fell 14% in the first half.

Renault said that sales of Renault brand cars were down 21.5% but sales of its low-cost Dacia brand were up 22.9% to 146,160 units.

Dacia is benefiting this year from strong exports to Europe where its low-cost cars are selling well in markets boosted by incentives.