Renault has reported first half net income of 548 million euros (applying 2001 standards) up 54% on 2001’s level (excluding exceptional capital gains). The results were ahead of forecasts and markets reacted favourably to the result. Renault’s share price has since climbed.

The company said that revenues were up 4.1% on a consistent basis with last year, reflecting an improved sales performance in Europe and a sharp rise in the performance of its Korean unit, Renault Samsung Motors.

Total sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles of the Renault Group worldwide, including Samsung and Dacia, rose by 1.3% to 1,280,380 units in the first half. Samsung sales increased by 82% to 53,699 units and Dacia’s by 6.8% to 27,499 units in the first half. The group sold 261,771 units outside of Western Europe in the first half.

Renault increased its share of the West European market, with a sales increase of 0.7% in a market that contracted by 4.7% in the first half.

Renault said that the rise in revenues of the Automobile Division (+3.7% to 18.1 billion euros) was down to increased sales by Renault Samsung Motors and an improved model and engine mix in Europe. The company said improved mix reflected the impact of Laguna II, Vel Satis, New Trafic and the impact of Renault’s new range of diesel engines. Renault also said that Megane sales are holding up well in spite of the car’s late model cycle stage.

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Renault also reported a rise in operating margin and said that its alliance with Nissan, through RNPO, ‘proved its effectiveness and contributed to the ongoing reduction in purchasing costs’.