Blog: French tails up
Dave Leggett | 28 July 2004
Lots of H1 financial results are coming in at the moment. Renault announced some pretty good H1 results today and they highlighted the importance of product – the Megane range and the new Scenic are both doing very well in the European marketplace. There’s no real substitute for hit products in volume segments and Renault’s bold design ethos appears to be vindicated, after initial concerns.
The anti-Megane II camp has gone quiet lately. Design as differentiator. Patrick Le Quement may want to take some deserved plaudits (just don’t mention the ailing Vel Satis).
Rival PSA’s results were down on the same period last year, but that was largely expected due to a quiet product renewal period. Expect Peugeot to come back strongly in the second half of 2004 as new product momentum picks up with the continuing impact of the P407 and also the new 1007 (will be interesting to see how that one goes down).
And looking out, Renault is likely to see further cost-saving gains from its tie-ups with Nissan, even if new model momentum subsides later this year.
The good French results certainly keep the pressure in Europe on under-performing Volkswagen and still slightly stuck up a gum-tree Fiat. And does GM need to cut costs in Europe further? The second half of this year in margin-starved Western Europe where the word ‘incentives’ is becoming increasingly commonplace is shaping up to be interesting.
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