Figures released by the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers' Association) revealed that Renault’s European growth of 14.2% in the first half of 2016, compared with same period in 2015, helped push it above Ford in the listings. Both brands are still some way behind Volkswagen, though.
Despite its slip to third place, Ford still managed growth of 4.8% over the first half of 2015. The 527,502 cars it registered during the first half of 2016 weren’t enough to beat the 561,238 Renault shifted, yet the previous year Ford registered over 11,000 more cars than Renault over the same period.
Renault’s growth could be due to its expanding model line-up; an array of new products including the Renault Kadjar, which competes in one of the most hotly competitive and best-selling areas of the UK market, will have bolstered sales.
The fight for second place is set to continue in the coming months with Ford’s product launches; its Ford Edge large SUV beat Renault’s new Koleos to market, although the new Megane’s release is likely to threaten Ford Focus sales, too. To complicate the struggle for second place further, there’s a new Ford Fiesta – the UK’s current best-selling car – on its way.
It's not just SUVs that are driving Renault's sales numbers though, a Renault spokesman explained: "the Clio was launched in 2012 and is still growing, year-on-year, nearly four years on – this is very encouraging and slightly unusual for a B-segment car, as you might expect sales to flatten at that stage in a life cycle. The fact that Captur, nearly three years in, and a new badge for us when launched, is also growing is proof that our vehicles – especially the design – are striking a chord in Europe. The Captur is the best-selling B-SUV in Europe."
"The Kadjar, another new badge for Renault in late 2015, has had a great start in 2016 and has contributed strongly to our sales. With the Megane and Scenic/Grand Scenic both being replaced (spring/summer and winter, respectively) in 2016 then we would expect this to help us maintain momentum through 2016 and into 2017. On the continent, Talisman and Espace have both improved upon their predecessors’ sales."
In the UK, Renault’s new registrations grew by just under 21% year-on-year during the first half, but slipped in July – down 31% over July 2015. Ford also faltered – albeit not so substantially - with a 7.75% downturn in July 2016 compared to July 2015.
Industry commentators remarked that the disheartening figures were likely to be an expected and routine slump ahead of the introduction of the new 66-plate registration coming in September, while others suggested that Brexit may have dented consumers’ confidence in buying a new car.