Renault, France’s largest carmaker aims to sell more than 50 percent of its production outside Europe by next year, from the current 48 percent, CEO Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday.

The French carmaker sold just over 2.72 million vehicles last year, giving it an operating margin of 0.8 percent in its core automotive business.

But with its core Western European market shrinking by 8 percent through May, the company’s overall global sales volume in 2012 could very drop well below last year’s breakeven point.

The 1.1 million new cars registered in May took the total for the first five months of the year to 5.4 million — 7.7 per cent less than during the same time in 2011, according to the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

Now Reuters reports that France’s Socialist government is studying the possibility of providing further state aid to its struggling automobile sector, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Wednesday.

France bailed out Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën, its other carmaker, with €6bn worth of low-interest loans in 2009, after the crisis depressed sales. It also ran a scrappage and further incentive scheme to boost car sales for two years from the end of 2008, which cost the state €2.2bn.


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