Renault projects growth in 2013 after Europe hurts group 2012 sales

Renault is targeting growth in 2013 with new models after recessions in Europe led to the company’s first annual delivery drop in four years.

Renault said it plans in 2013 to bolster its share of the market in Europe, where the manufacturer has lost buyers to competitors such as Volkswagen.

The carmaker’s plan for European delivery gains contrasts with predictions by CEO Carlos Ghosn and other industry leaders that the region’s market will shrink for a sixth consecutive year in 2013. Renault reiterated a forecast that manufacturers’ sales in Europe this year will fall by about 3 percent.

Renault’s sales in its home market fell 25 percent to 551,314 cars and vans, reducing its group market share to 24.2 percent in 2012, Renault said. The manufacturer accounted for 26.1 percent of car sales in the country in 2011. Outside France, Renault’s deliveries in Europe fell 17 percent, it said.

The automaker is trying to reduce reliance on the region by building or buying factories in North Africa, China and Russia. Sales in 2012 outside Europe accounted for more than half of Renault’s deliveries for the first time, the company said.

“The internationalization is a reality,” Jerome Stoll, the head of sales, said at a press conference on Friday. “We’re clearly expecting a growth in volume in all regions, including Europe, on the basis of our forecasts.”

Non-European markets generated 50.2 percent of Renault’s deliveries last year compared with 43.1 percent in 2011, it said. Renault posted sales increases of 22 percent in the Eurasia marketing region, which includes Russia and other former Soviet states, and 14 percent in the Americas.

Sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose 0.4 percent as gains in China were offset by drop in South Korea, where the Renault Samsung division is reorganizing.

Renault began selling a new version of its Clio hatchback in the fourth quarter. The carmaker will hold an “event” every 10 days this year to introduce models, starting with the Captur, its first crossover, and including bringing new versions or updates of vehicles into new markets, Stoll said today.