Renault’s push into hot-selling SUV/crossover segments has paid off after the brand overtook Ford to become Europe’s No. 2 brand by unit sales in the first half.
The French marque’s new Captur and Kadjar SUVs have helped Renault to benefit from a shift in consumer tastes from hatchbacks and minivans to high-riding SUVs. The two newcomers are now the No. 2 and No. 3 European top-sellers for Renault (see chart below).
A rebounding European market, as well as demand for the brand’s new vehicles, benefited the automaker, Renault’s sales and marketing chief, Thierry Koskas, said in an emailed response to questions.
Renault brand passenger car registrations increased by 15 percent to 595,316 in the EU and EFTA markets through July, outpacing the industrywide rise of 9 percent, according to data from industry association ACEA. Ford’s volume gained 5 percent to 565,879. VW brand remained Europe’s top-selling brand despite its emissions-rigging scandal with sales of 909,470, up 0.7 percent.
Renault said in 2014 that it aimed to be Europe’s second best-selling brand by 2017. But it may achieve the goal a year early if its positive sales trend continues. In the second half, Renault will get a boost from the new-generation Megane compact car, which started rolling out earlier this year, along with the new Scenic compact minivan, which is due in showrooms later this year.
Ian Fletcher, an analyst at IHS Automotive, said Renault was helped by its push into new market segments, most notably with the Kadjar compact SUV.
Jamel Taganza, an analyst for Inovev, said Kadjar production is booming and has multiplied by a factor of close to seven since last year. “The introduction of the new Megane also had a good impact on brand sales with production increasing by 38 percent.”