Renault 2020 sales slump on pandemic

PARIS (AFP) – French auto giant Renault reported yesterday that sales by volume slumped 21.3 per cent last year to 2.9 million vehicles in a market down 14.2 per cent due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fall was “principally due to the company’s large exposure to countries which imposed strict lockdowns… in the second quarter, plus a another slowdown in the fourth quarter, especially in France”, Renault said in a statement.

For Europe as a whole, sales fell 25.8 per cent to 1.4 million units.

Hybrid and electric vehicles held up better than traditional cars in the second quarter and in the last three months of the year, orders in this segment were up 14 per cent from a year earlier in Europe, Renault said.

“From now on we will focus on profitability rather than sales volume, with unit margins being higher,” Renault chief Luca de Meo said.

Renault continued to dominate the European electric car market last year with sales of 115,888 vehicles, up more than 101 per cent.

Its small ZOE model accounted for the bulk of sales, with 100,000 vehicles.

Employees work along the assembly line at Flins-sur-Seine, the largest Renault production site in France. PHOTO: AFP