Groupe Renault sales fell by 21.3% last year, due to the impact of the pandemic, but boss Luca de Meo believes a renewed focus on more profitable models and EVs will help it to bounce back in 2021.
The French manufacturer, whose brands include Renault, Dacia and Lada, sold 2,949,849 units last year, including both cars and commercial vehicles, down from 3,749,736 in 2019.
While the year-on-year drop of 21.3% was a sharp decline, it actually reflected a recovery from the first half of 2020, when Groupe Renault's sales were down 34.9% year-on-year. The firm posted a loss of £6.5 billion in the first six months of the year.
The Renault brand sold 1,787,121 vehicles, a 24.1% year-on-year fall, while Dacia sales fell by 29.2% to 520,765. Alpine sales were down 68.4%, with 1526 examples of the A110 sold.
The sales figures did contain some encouraging news for Renault, with a major growth in sales of electric cars. The group sold a total of 115,888 EVs, more than double its 2019 levels. Sales of the Renault Zoe supermini increased by 114% to 100,657, from 47,027 in 2019.
Group Renault has also expanded its line-up of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, with electrified variants of the Clio, Renault Captur and Mégane. The firm sold more than 30,000 cars featuring hybrid powertrains – roughly 25% of all Clio, Captur and Mégane models sold.
The success of Groupe Renault’s electrified models meant it achieved its European Union CO2 fleet average target for 2020.
Renault also said that orders in Europe in December 2020 were up 14% compared to 2019, with the Renault brand also increasing its market share in the region, while reducing its inventory of models in stock.
De Meo said the firm is “now focusing on profitability rather than sales volumes, with a higher net unit margin per vehicle in each of our markets”.
Groupe Renault will present a new strategic plan, which it has called the ‘Renaulution’, on Thursday 14 January, with the firm set to focus on more profitable models. Reports suggest it will include the revival of the 4 and 5 models as electric cars and turning Alpine into an electric performance brand.