A restructuring programme and strong new models have put Renault back on track in the UK, says chief operating officer Carlos Tavares
Matt Burt
21 June 2013

Renault’s chief operating officer Carlos Tavares says he expects the company’s UK division to return to profitability this year as it begins to feel the benefits of the restructuring plan put into action 18 months ago.

Tavares said the French manufacturer’s UK division was preparing to enter stage two of its recovery, following on from the first step which was initiated in December 2011 and included a dramatic cull of cars such as the Laguna and Espace from the model line-up.

The next phase involved “leveraging the quality and appeal of the great product that we are bringing to the market with the new Clio, Captur and Zoe”, and Tavares said Renault had been “energised” by the positive reaction those cars had received.

He was also adamant that all of the European divisions should focus on building Renault’s reputation for making quality cars and steer clear of “unhealthy practices”, such as heavy price discounting, which continue to hamper the profitability of European car makers as they try to increase sales in a challenging market.

“We do not want to be in the discounting industry – we want to be in the value industry, which is different,” he said.

Tavares stated that sales of 75,000 cars and vans per year was a target that would make Renault's UK operations sustainable. It is believed that Renault UK has been loss-making since 2006. Last year just over 40,000 cars were registered as well as around 14,000 vans. The emerging Dacia brand, launched in the UK at the start of this year, should add more units to 2013's end-of-year total.

He added that an improving financial outlook did not necessarily mean that the domestic importer would consider re-introducing any of the previously axed models.

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Such a decision, said Tavares, would be left to Renault UK’s managing director Ken Ramirez, although he added: “What we have found in the last few years is that having too many cars can be highly counterproductive."


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21 June 2013

I never understood how a small vehicle range can be more profitable than a full vehicle range with something for everyone?

For example, if I am in the market for a D segment family saloon/hatch, there is no Laguna to look at. The biggest they sell is a Megane. Therefore I would look elsewhere at Mondeos, Avensises etc and likely spend my hard earned with a rival.

Why can't they offer Fluence diesels, Latitudes etc. for those who might wish to buy them?

Surely some sales are better than none?

21 June 2013

I agree, sirwiggum. In Ireland the Fluence sells really well, it's right-hand drive, so why isn't it for sale in UK? I know the UK isn't a huge market for small saloons but in my own little business I believe that any sale is a good sale! Same goes for Nissan Tiida, Toyota Corolla, it surely isn't a big job to provide them for the UK market when we have them just across the water!

21 June 2013

Bear in mind that the model range cull went hand-in-hand with some significant reductions in fixed costs within the company. That suggests the company has cut its cloth according to the number of cars and vans it was projected to sell.

In terms of any sales being better than none, that's undoubtedly true, but bringing cars into the country costs cash, and it costs dealers to find space for Lagunas and Espaces on their forecourts, especially if those cars then sit there for months without getting much interest.

Sales trends will dictate what cars are sold, but if UK dealers started clamouring for the next-generation Espace, for example, you like to think those calls would be heeded by Renault head office.

Overall, though, it looks as if the model cull has had the desired effect, even though as you point out it has had a detrimental effect on the variety within the manufacturer's range...

21 June 2013

Over the last 18 months Renault has lost the Laguna Coupe, the Wind, A manual box in the RS Clio. I think the only cars they sell that might get me into a Renault showroom these days are the RS Megan, and the Twizy.

I dont know how long the Megan has left before they force an auto on it, and the Twizy is twice the price it should be (and saddles with a huge battery rental issue).

It amazes me they sell anything these days

21 June 2013

Its Kia Hyundai !

Renault cant do much about em either . Better reliability better warranty oh and they aint French ! Citroen is suffering a similar fate . Both are struggling against the tide .

24 June 2013

Old Toad wrote:

Its Kia Hyundai !

Renault cant do much about em either . Better reliability better warranty oh and they aint French ! Citroen is suffering a similar fate . Both are struggling against the tide .

You need to look at the May SMMT figures.

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