Weekend Number Crunching: Renault

Renault´s November sales figures have been released. Good or bad or what? 

Among the 75% of smaller cars that make up Renault´s UK sales, is the Zoe.
Among the 75% of smaller cars that make up Renault´s UK sales, is the Zoe.

Renault UK released their latest sales figures on Wednesday. The headline, as they present it, is that their sales are still increasing, a 20 month upward trend. They make the point that their percentage change is ahead of the general market trend too. They sold 61,172 vehicles in the year to date, which is almost a 50% improvement on last year. 5,586 of those were sold in November. The biggest contributor to this increase is probably the popularity of the Clio and Captur though Renault include the Zoe in with the 76% that these vehicles contribute to the total number. Do they sell ten of these a month? EIght? Thirty? You can see why Renault decided to ditch their larger vehicles in the UK a few years back. The action is at the lower levels of the price ladder. Those Lagunas were just taking up space.

Among the rest of Renault´s sales volume is the Megane, making up part of the other 25% of sales.
Among the rest of Renault´s sales volume is the Megane, making up part of the other 25% of sales.

Statistics as we know are not value free. While it´s welcome for Renault to see their sales increasing, the reference point is something of a nadir in Renault´s UK fortunes. And reliance on small cars and niche models is not healthy. The best margins are always on the larger cars which is why Mercedes and BMW make such fat profits most of the time. Further, large cars add prestige to smaller ones. A small Mercedes of the same dimensions as a mainstream car benefits from the shared DNA with the top-line luxury models, if the customer believes it´s cut from the same cloth that is.

2014 Dacia Duster. Just under £10,000 for this.
2014 Dacia Duster. Just under £10,000 for this.

In related news, Dacia has also reported improved sales and better market penetration. One might wonder how much Dacia is cannibalising Renault´s business. I rather like the rubber welly image of Dacia and see them as being good value. One might be tempted to ask how many people are going shopping for a Renault and driving home in a Dacia.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

9 thoughts on “Weekend Number Crunching: Renault”

  1. I visited Renault’s Main London showroom a few weeks back. I hadn’t visited for a few years. Back then, it was full of Renaults. Espaces, Winds, Lagunas, etc. Now it only seems full because it is bulked out with Dacias and Nissans. As you say Richard, where are the big earners? I really liked the Twingo I went there to view. I don’t like the Clio, but I can see it might appeal. But the only cars that might make a bit of decent money are up-specced versions of the uninspiring Megane and the Captur, whose apparent appeal escapes me unless it is an Evoque for the cash-strapped and visually inept. In a corner are the electric cars, reminding us of Renault’s brave gamble, which hasn’t succeeded in the UK, yet. Running away from big cars is like a greengrocer getting a batch of bad bananas and deciding he won’t stock any more fruit. Try harder Renault – certainly get more inspired engineers, with the exception of the Twingo and RS models, your cars are just so dull to drive. People do notice these things.

  2. Well by all accounts the Twingo is as dull to drive as the rest since they dialed out every last bit of the RWD characteristics to make it feel like an understeering FWD car to the car’s target market, that knows not which wheels to fit the snow chains… Sigh.

    I always thought Dacias as good value form money and decently built, but yikes that was until I read this on the Dacia “Ruster”:

    http://www.carscoops.com/2014/12/widespread-corrosion-issues-makes-uk.html

    Seems the Romanian built ones are fine but the Indian RHD versions we got here in the UK have had extremely shoddy rust proofing and are already rusting away, even though they are very new to the market. Explains now why they hastily started making the RHD versions in Romania and are now exporting them to the UK and we do not get the Indian version anymore. Ha.

    1. Johann. From my drive of the Twingo, it’s certainly no 911 – nor a Suzuki Whizzkid come to that, but then I never expected it would be. It is however pleasantly responsive as a town car and, although I’d grown sceptical about the rear engine packaging advantages, for passengers if not loads, they are very real – speaking as a tall person. There is something of the domestic appliance about it, but a very nice domestic appliance. But, in any case, how much of the engineering is Renault’s and how much is Daimler AG’s?

      I had a short lived enthusiasm for the Duster, until I realised if I wanted A/C I’d have to buy all the other fripperies of the more expensive version. That was a lucky escape. Rust is hugely depressing and, when I’m in my old fogey “modern cars aren’t worth the money mode” I’d do well to remember how rust has been banished …. or so I’d thought.

    2. Neither Renault nor smart will make a profit from that unique, hare brained platform. smart even less, since their version is pig ugly with a ridiculously contrived Tridion Safety cell two tone look. But then the Sarah Janes that will be driving the contraptions will have no idea how to deal with a RWD car oversteering (since one and all they grew up with FWD cars) so I guess they had to design the life out of the silly thing to make them safe to sell.

    3. Johann. Certainly no-one sat down with a clean sheet and thought, let’s make a car that’s fun to drive and, as you suggest, I look forward to my first view of a Twingo with chains on the front wheels. That said, I almost joined the ranks of the Sarah Janes since I did find it a really convincing package as a town car. But treat what I say with a pinch of salt – two weeks before driving the Twingo I was sitting in a Yeti thinking how well it would suit me!

    4. Sean if you were to get a Twingo, you’ll soon work out which fuse does the ESP and take it out, to have some nice tail out slides and oversteer going around corners… no wait, the car doesn’t have enough power for that. Oh well.

  3. How very Lancia circa 1975. Or indeed just how cars were throught the 80s (or 90s if you had an XJ40.) Isn´t the cheap and tough nature of the Dacias appealing? I like that. Ignoring the badges – let´s call the whole lot RD cars, the RD product range is firmly in the C-class and smaller and below Twingo they offers cheapness as well. It´s not healthy.

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