GENEVA -- Renault is counting on SUVs to maintain sales momentum in Europe, Thierry Koskas, the automaker's sales and marketing chief, said.
Last year, the Renault brand became Europe's No. 2 marque by sales behind No. 1 VW. The playing field has shifted, however, with the announcement that the Renault's domestic and European rival PSA Group is acquiring Opel from General Motors.
Koskas would not comment on the strategic implications of the Opel sale, but he said he still expected Renault to gain both both volume and market share in Europe. "We see the market still growing, not at the same pace as in 2016, but still growth of 1.5 to 2 percent," he said in an interview.
Analysts have credited Renault’s recent success in Europe to a renewed lineup since 2012 and a flurry of new vehicle introductions -- eight in the past 12 to 15 months alone, according to Koskas. That product blitz is tailing off, however. All-new models on sale in Europe this year will be limited to a new Koleos midsize SUV, which shares a platform with the X-Trail from Renault’s alliance partner Nissan, and the Alaskan pickup, based on the Nissan Navara.
At the Geneva auto show earlier this month, Renault showed a face-lifted Captur, the best-selling subcompact SUV in Europe last year. The company says the design tweaks, including a redesigned grille, will strengthen identification with the Kadjar compact SUV.
The new Koleos will beef up Renault’s all-important SUV lineup. Last year, 26.9 percent of the brand’s sales in Europe were SUVs, a figure Koskas expects to continue to rise.