The French company defied the European slump and gained ground in Russia and emerging markets as its vehicle sales rose 3.1 % in 2013 and pledged further growth this year thanks to its low-cost cars.
Slightly short of the global auto market’s 3.9 % expansion, deliveries rose to 2.63 million cars and light trucks last year, the company said in a statement. New models helped Renault to weather the worst of the crisis in its home region and score significant gains in emerging markets, particularly for the no-frills Dacia brand.
Europe and France will both return to growth of 1 percent in 2014 after six straight years of decline, sales chief Jerome Stoll predicted, as the global market expands 2 %.
“In a more favourable market context, we are confirming our profitable growth strategy by continuing our recovery in Europe and increasing our international sales,” Stoll said in the statement.
Despite last year’s strong performance, the hiatus in European demand – which led to a 6.3 % drop in Renault’s 2012 sales – means the company will likely miss its medium-term goal of 3 million deliveries in 2016, Stoll said.
The gains in 2013 were largely powered by Dacia, whose global sales jumped almost one-fifth, while Renault’s brand sales edged 0.4 % higher.
Group sales rose 2.4 % in Europe, bucking the 1.7 % regional contraction in light vehicle demand, with the help of a Dacia push into new markets, as well as a new Renault Clio mini and Captur small sport utility vehicle.
In Russia, another shrinking market, Renault sales rose 10.7 to more than 210,000 vehicles as the low-cost Duster model topped the country’s SUV popularity ranking.
The budget offering made further headway in so-called “Euromed” countries, including Turkey, Romania and Morocco – where the carmaker’s recently opened Tangiers plant helped it claim a record 39 % market share. Group sales rose 7.8 % to 388,922 vehicles across the region. But western sanctions against Iran meant 64,500 lost vehicle sales and led Renault to a 7.4 % decline in its Asia-Pacific sales region, which includes India and South Korea.