Renault says sales hold up, with help from Russia and Duster
French carmaker Renault achieved record sales outside Europe in the first half of the year, it said on Friday, outperforming its struggling French rival Peugeot Citroen despite weakness in the European market.
Renault, comprising also the low-cost Romanian brand Dacia and South Korean subsidiary Renault Samsung Motors, sold a total of 1.3 million vehicles throughout the world in the first six months of 2013.
This was 1.9 percent fewer vehicles than in the first half of 2012.
By contrast, sales by PSA Peugeot Citroen fell by 9.76 percent. PSA is struggling to restructure amid rumours, denied that its partner General Motors could take control and inject cash.
A government-appointed expert reported last year that PSA was suffering the consequences over many years of missing the bus on globalisation
The commercial director of Renault Jerome Stoll said that "once again Group Renault is showing that its strategy of going international is the right one. It is enabling us to absorb in large part the fall of the European market."
Renault now achieves 49.6 percent of its sales outside Europe.
In the first six months, the European market fell by 6.7 percent and Renault's European sales fell by 7.3 percent.
Renault suffered from weak sales in its three most important markets in Europe: France, Germany and Italy.
In the second quarter, the group's sales rose by 0.7 percent and the company said this led it to think that performance in the second half would be firm.
For the whole of 2013 it expected to sell more vehicles than in 2012 and to gain market share in Europe, provided that the French and European markets did not weaken further.
The group expected the global market to grow by 2.0 percent this year instead of by 3.0 percent as it had forecast previously. The downward revision reflected a slowing of the growth of auto markets in some emerging economies.
Renault said that it did not see trading conditions in Europe improving and forecast that the market would shrink by 5.0 percent this year. But it expected the French market to contract by 8.0 percent instead of by 5.0 percent expected previously.
Renault continued its expansion into emerging markets, and said that Russia was now its second-biggest market after France. The group was also making progress in India.
Stoll said that this performance reflected the success of the Dacia brand which accounted for 16.0 percent of group sales.
The group's most successful model worldwide was the Dacia Duster four-wheel-drive vehicle he said.
In the first half, Renault had sold 189,000 Duster vehicles.
© 2013 AFP