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Renault plots 'aggressive strategy' to regain lost share

Date: 12 November 2009   |   Author:

Renault is vowing to bounce back from a difficult couple of years in the UK market, targeting a resurgence to a 5% market share rather than the lowly 2.5% it currently manages.

"Our brand and activity has slightly declined, and not only because of the market but because of some performance issues, and we have to try and restore the efficiency of the system and try and catch a higher market share in this region," said Jerome Stoll, Renault's European sales and marketing and corporate sales boss. "The brand has also been a little bit damaged for different reasons in the past and we have very strong arguments today to lift the brand in the eyes of the consumer. Design and quality have improved a lot.

Renault's fleet market share has plunged from 8.8% in 2004 to 2.0% for the first nine months of 2009, and Stoll is looking for an upturn.

"We think there's a reason to develop an aggressive plan in the UK to recover part of the market share we have lost," he said. "The market share we lost was in fleet, not in retail."

Much of the loss was in the firm's decision to back out of the Motability channel, a sector Stoll described as "difficult for all carmakers". But he's not looking to just throw cars at the low-profit channels to lift market share. "I will not accept that 5% are just Motability," he said. "Roland [Bouchara, Renault UK boss] knows perfectly well that he will have to deliver numbers in terms of volume, market share, profitability and free cash flow. He knows perfectly well where I expect him to be."

Rental is also an option, though only if it can be profitable. "I'm not saying we are back at all costs, we'll not do anything just to catch market share," he said. "We shall see how to optimise the different channels."

Stoll also defended Renault's presence in the upper medium sector, despite the new Laguna's poor performance. "It is unfortunate to see the absence of success for Laguna," he said. "The new one is completely different, I think we did our job in terms of quality and product." Stoll said the job lies with Renault UK to try and increase the car's popularity. "We have to do a better job. So far we have not been able to convince enough people to make this car a success."

Stoll confirmed that the French brand will continue in the upper medium sector. "We have to offer product in this sector. OK, Laguna is not as successful in the UK as we could have expected and true we have difficulties with products such as the [small 4x4] Koleos," he said. "We have to work on proper reasons with surveys and data not just opinion to understand why customers are not coming to the showroom at the level we want.

"Renault will not get out of these segments just because we have phase difficulties."