Renault has announced that in 2002 the company bolstered operating margin to 1,483 million euros, or 4.1% of revenue. On a consistent accounting basis, operating margin was 2.5% of revenues, compared with 1.3% in 2001.

Group pre-tax net income came to 2,457 million euros in 2002, or 1,652 million euros on a consistent basis versus 1,020 million euros in 2001. Renault said that Nissan’s earnings increase also gave the group a boost.

Renault said that despite less buoyant markets worldwide and in Europe, the Renault group’s global sales were stable in 2002 at 2.4 million vehicles.

The company said that highlights of the year included an increase in Renault’s market share in Western Europe to 11.3% and claimed a sharp gain in market share in Central Europe to 10.6% from 9.9% in 2001. Outside Western Europe, the group sales performance in Mexico and Asia-Pacific helped offset market slumps in Turkey and the Mercosur zone of South America.

Operating margin came to 1,483 million euros in 2002. On a consistent basis, operating margin was 896 million euros, including 602 million euros from the Automobile Division, equivalent to 1.7% of revenues versus 0.6% in 2001.

Renault said that the increase in the Automobile Division’s operating margin was attributable to:

oa decline in general expenses (administrative and IT expenses, head office operating costs and R&D expenses) with no impact on the product plan.

oa rise in the contribution from sales outside Western Europe as Renault Samsung Motors sales soared and Renault pursued its profitable growth in new countries with the support of the Alliance.

osteady sales in Western Europe despite a less buoyant business climate due to a downturn in sales volume and the end of Mégane’s lifecycle.

Renault said that it is expecting a slight downturn in 2003 in the automobile market in Europe and a slight upturn in the main countries in which the group operates outside Europe.

On the basis of this assumption, Renault is targeting higher revenues in 2003 than in 2002 and an operating margin of around 4% of revenues. However, 4% is flat and analysts have voiced disappointment with that forecast. They note that the Megane has just been renewed; that more models are due this year – including Scenic II – and that models such as the Vel Satis should be taking the company into higher margin territory.