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Renault sales strategy gives it recession 'advantage'

Date: 17 March 2009   |   Author:

Renault is claiming its strategy over the past two or three years has left it better placed than its volume rivals to deal with the recession, with UK boss Ronald Bouchara promising a resurgent brand in the "second phase" of 2009.

Over the past two years Renault's fleet volumes have taken a hefty hit, down 9.5% year-on-year in 2007, and then even further in 2008, down 32.0%, which saw the brand slide behind Audi, BMW and Toyota to eighth in the fleet sales chart. In 2008, the French company put 45,323 car registrations into fleet, almost 20,000 units less than in 2006.

However, the reductions were brought about by pulling back on business deemed not profitable enough, mainly daily rental and motability.

"It's true we have lost market share in the last two or three years. We decided to cut the not-profitable volume, especially short-term rental and motability," Bouchara told BusinessCar. "It was too expensive and the conclusion is that we are in a much healthier position from a stock point-of-view. That's why we're not competing in the disastrous market this quarter - we did what we said."

Bouchara said Renault volumes won't return until rivals have made moves to cut stock.

"Our market share this year depends on when the competition stops stock cleansing and discounting," he said. "As far as we're concerned we have an advantage because we did it before everyone else. Fleet share will keep picking up but we won't stay in a market that's not profitable."

Renault's UK boss claims the firm has already reaped the rewards of its strategy, with residual values vastly improved on the new Megane, launched in three- and five-door form at the turn of the year.

The new model action continues into 2009, with the seven-seat Grand Scenic mini-MPV coming in May, followed two months later by its five-door Scenic sibling. The Megane Sport Tourer estate arrives in August.