Renault reported low first-quarter revenue due to the fact that demand for new cars declined in Europe.
The first-quarter saw a decline of 8.6%, the revenue reaching 9.535 billion euros ($12.57 billion) from 10.43 billion euros in 2011. The maker of Clio small cars and Dacia Duster registered sales down 7.9% to 638, 498 units due to a very unfavorable market in Europe.
The company had shares gains outside Europe, in the Americas, Eurasia and Euromed-Africa regions. In Brazil and Russia sales rose 12.3% to 291,177 units, representing 46% of the total Group sales. Renault confirmed its full year objective of generating a positive automotive operational free cash flow this year.
Although the European sales were weaker than expected in the first three months, the company declared it will get a lift from several product renewals starting in the current quarter, one of them being a new version of its popular and high-volume Clio sub-compact which will go on sale after the summer.
Renault expects the global automotive market to rise with 4% this year, while Europe is expected to decline by 3%-4%. The second half of the year will determine whether Renault sees a return to sales growth.