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Asia-Pacific vital for Renault survival

Big future: Renault plans to increase its presence in the Asia Pacific region with new models such as the Clio likely make an impact.

Growth in Asia-Pacific becomes a priority as French brand broadens its sales scope

Renault logo15 Oct 2012


RENAULT admits it had never taken Australia or the Asia-Pacific region markets seriously until dwindling Western European sales in recent times forced a concerted push into international territories as a matter of survival.

Speaking to the Australian media at the recent Paris motor show, the company’s newly appointed senior vice-president and chairman for the Asia-Pacific region, Gilles Normand, said that Renault is investing unprecedented resources now that its “international territories” market share outweighs that of Western Europe.

“I can’t say that we have been serious about Australia,” he said.

“You are not serious if one day you are in the country and the next day you are out.

“When you are making 0.1 per cent of the market, you are not serious.

“Now are we willing to become serious? Of course we are willing. We want to increase in share in Asia-Pacific. And I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t or are not capable of making an impact in Australia.”

Mr Normand pointed to Renault’s renewed focus in the Gulf region (mainly Dubai, Bahrain, Arabia, Qatar, Oman) as an example of how it can grow in challenging markets like Australia.

 center imageLeft: Renault senior vice-president and chairman for Asia Pacific, Gilles Normand.

“Hot countries, automatic gearboxes, petrol engines … they require everything that is not very familiar to Renault … and for many, many years we were not present in these countries,” he said.

“But for the last three years, we have been the fastest-growing brand in the Gulf, and we are now head-to-head with Volkswagen to be one of the leading Europeans.

“Yes, the German specialists like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are ahead of us, but we are not going to chase them (because) we want to be the first European mainstream brand.”

Mr Normand said that growing in Asia-Pacific is a matter of survival for Renault.

“From the global picture of sales, 50 per cent of Renault’s sales were from outside Europe.

“But in the first half of 2012 sales have dropped in Europe and booming outside Europe … and in the isolated month of August, the (ratio changed) to 58 per cent outside Europe.

“Symbolically, in Brazil we sold more cars than we did in France (for) the first time ever. Now it’s not a surprise the domestic market is not the first market … so it is more important that we concentrate outside of Europe.

“And let me be crystal clear: the Asia-Pacific region – starting from the Red Sea all the way to New Caledonia including New Zealand – is 50 per cent of the world global market, and less than 10 per cent of Renault’s global sales.

“Therefore, there is a significant mismatch from the size of the market and what is the size of our presence.”

Mr Normand warned that Renault’s projected growth outside of Western Europe has to be sustainable in order to succeed in the long term – or the plan will backfire.

“In the past we have been lacking consistency,” he said.

“But now, because of the shift outside of Europe becoming paramount to the survival of the company, we are throwing much more resources to do that.

“And Asia-Pacific is the key market, and within this region we’re starting with Australia.

“We are on track to sell 4000 units (in 2012) so it is a good market, and a profitable market.

“But we don’t want to go in with very strong growth, then whoop – a fall, and then start again.

“We have to do it a little bit more consistent, step-by-step, building on our strengths, making sure the customer is happy with our products, and that our products are delivering more and more on the promise to our customers.”

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