Renault's global sales fall 3.3% in first half, hit by Europe slump
PARIS -- Renault said its global vehicle sales fell 3.3 percent in the first half, dragged down by a worsening slump in the European market.
Deliveries dropped to 1.33 million light vehicles in the first six months, despite a 1.2 percent rise in the second quarter, Renault said on Wednesday. European sales fell 14.9 percent to 708,131 units.
"Two-thirds of that decline was due to the market and market mix, and one-third was a consequence of choices made to preserve our margins," said Jerome Stoll, vice president of sales and marketing. "I'm counting on regaining some market share in the second half, particularly in France, with the introduction of new models."
Renault scrapped its sales-growth target range for 2012 as the European vehicle-market contraction accelerates.
Renault won't be able to raise deliveries by 3 percent to 4 percent this year because gains outside Europe will be more than offset by a decline in the region, Stoll told journalists.
"The Group still expects 2012 unit sales to exceed the level reached in 2011, provided that there is no further deterioration of the market situation in Europe," Stoll said.
Growth in the global automotive market is expected to continue with a 5 percent increase in 2012, Renault said, forecasting a 6-7 percent decrease in Europe and a 10-11 percent drop in France.
In France, Renault's biggest single market, sales fell 15.2 percent to 310,260. Market share fell half a percentage point to 24.7 percent.
Brazil, the company's second-largest market, was a bright spot with growth of 6.8 percent to 110,536, as was No. 3 Russia where volume increased to 95, 579, also a 6.8 percent rise.
Stoll said the automaker's strategy to offset a declining Europe with growth in global markets is paying off. Sales outside Europe now account for 47 percent of the group's sales, compared with 39 percent in the first half of 2011.
Renault said it expects a boost from new products that will be launched in the second half, including the new Renault Twingo subcompact, Zoe battery powered subcompact and updated versions of the Dacia Logan low-cost sedan and Sandero hatchback.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report