French auto giant Renault said on Tuesday its first half sales were hit by a slowdown in several emerging countries but overall it managed to hold its own in a weakening global market. Sales were down 6.7 per cent from a year earlier to 1.94 million vehicles, it said, citing problems in Iran due to US economic sanctions, and in Argentina, China—the world’s biggest single auto market—and Turkey.
That equated to a 4.4 per cent share of the global auto market. Renault sales director Olivier Murguet said despite the fall, the company was confident the second half of 2019 would be better. “For the second half, we should see a slight increase compared with last year thanks to our new model launches,” Murguet told reporters in a conference call.
The global auto market shrank 7.1 per cent overall in the first half to June but Renault expected little change in the second half, he said. The launch of the Arkana SUV in Russia, the 7-seat Tribier in India and the electric car City K-ZE in China should help bolster market share, he added.
Recently, Renault launched the updated version of its popular SUV Duster in India, priced between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 12.5 lakh (ex-showroom). The new Duster is equipped with 25 brand new features and technology enhancements, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto infotainment with voice recognition and EcoGuide along with safety features such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Hill-Start Assist, Renaut India said in a statement.
The model is available in two engine options of 1.5 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel. While the petrol version has an option for CVT automatic transmission, the diesel also has an automated manual transmission option, the company added.
In Europe, Renault has already updated key models—the Clio compact, the Captur small SUV and the Zoe electric vehicle. Renault performed better than fellow French giant PSA in the first half of this year which reported Monday that its sales tumbled 12.8 per cent to just over 1.9 million, also hit badly by the virtual end of the Iranian market.
(With inputs from PTI)