Renault SA delivered 3.2% more vehicles last year as sales of budget cars in Europe offset falling demand in Russia and Argentina.
Global sales rose to 2.71 million cars and light commercial vehicles from 2.63 million a year earlier, the Boulogne- Billancourt, France-based company said today in a statement. Deliveries of no-frills vehicles, including Europe’s Dacia brand, jumped 5.3% to 1.14 million vehicles.
Renault, Europe’s third-largest carmaker, relied on demand for low-cost models like the Sandero hatchback and Duster sport- utility vehicle as a push into emerging markets backfired because of economic woes in Russia and Latin America. The Dacia brand and the new Renault Captur compact SUV helped it tap into a gradual recovery in its home region, where demand hit a two- decade low in 2013.
Even with overall demand for new vehicles “uncertain,” Renault is predicting its sales will rise again this year, underpinned by “an accelerated product plan” with five new models slated to hit showrooms, Chief Performance Officer Jerome Stoll said in the statement.
The company forecast industrywide car sales this year to rise 1% to 2% in Europe and 2% globally. The company’s home region propelled sales growth last year, with gains of 42% in the U.K., 30% in Spain and 29% in Italy.
Deliveries in Russia, Renault’s third-biggest market, fell 7.4% to 194,500 vehicles, as a plunge in oil prices and a drop in the value of the ruble pushed Russia to the brink of a recession. Renault and its alliance partner Nissan Motor Co. together control OAO AvtoVAZ, the maker of Lada models and the country’s largest auto producer.
The French manufacturer’s deliveries in Argentina plunged 40% to 85,000 vehicles as the country’s currency struggles, while sales in Brazil, Renault’s second-biggest market, edged up by 0.3% to 237,000 cars.