Renault vehicle sales start closing gap with 2019, Dacia shines

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Renault carmaker is pictured at a dealership in France
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Renault carmaker is pictured at a dealership in Vertou, near Nantes, France, January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

July 16, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) -French carmaker Renault on Friday reported a 18.7% increase in first-half vehicle sales though remained below pre-COVID-19 crisis levels.

The group like global peers is pushing into electric vehicles under Chief Executive Luca de Meo while trimming costs, including by focusing on fewer but more profitable ranges.

It said this strategy was starting to bear fruit amid a recovery in demand, although its latest figures reflect sales by volume only.

“In an environment still disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Renault Group sold 1,422,600 vehicles in the first half of 2021, up 18.7% on 2020, but down 24.2% on the first half of 2019,” the group said in a statement.

Vehicle sales across all its brands in 2020 fell 21.3%.

Fabrice Cambolive, head of sales for the Renault brand, said models like hybrid versions of the Clio were selling well, allowing the group to edge upwards in terms of price.

Sales of the Renault brand were up 18.5%, at 901,500 units, during the first six months of the year.

Cambolive said it was hard to evaluate the impact of a global semiconductor shortage in terms of vehicle sales so far this year.

“We’re able to play with stocks, it’s hard to see (the effect) on sales,” he told journalists.

The group’s Dacia brand increased sales by 24.5%, at 262,814 units, while Lada sold 200,219 cars, up 51%.

Renault is due to report full first-half results on July 30.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; editing by Sarah White and Jason Neely)