Chip supply, Russia exit pull brakes on Renault sales

This file photo taken on 17 October, 2022 shows the renault logo on a car during the first day of the Paris auto show.AFP

Renault said Tuesday it saw sales slide 14.6 per cent in 2022, hampered by supply problems for electronic chips, leaving Russia and switching its focus to more profitable models.

The French auto group sold 1,466,729 vehicles last year, down from 1,751,000 in 2021.

Excluding its withdrawal from operations in Russia owing to the war in Ukraine, annual sales dropped 9.4 percent, notably in Europe, where Renault said it had prioritised "segments generating the most value," such as higher margin electric and hybrid as well as utility vehicles.

Despite seeing overall sales volume drop at an above market average rate, Renault remained on the podium for electric sales in Europe behind Tesla and Volkswagen.

"We sold all that we produced," while order books remain full, chief operating officer Fabrice Cambolive told a conference call.

The second half of the year saw production improve on the first semester despite transportation problems.

In May, Renault sold its 100-per cent stake in Renault Russia and its 68-per cent stake in AVTOVAZ -- the manufacturer of the popular Lada brand -- three months after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine as the West imposed the first of waves of sanctions.

Sales beyond Europe were stable over 2021, reaching 43.2 per cent of total sales.

Latin American sales were a bright spot, rising eight percent year on year, helped by strong sales of the Kwid, the group's crossover city hatchback.

Turkey, Renault's fourth-largest market, saw sales rise 22.6 per cent to surpass 100,000 units.

The coupe-style crossover, South Korean-built Arkana, developed initially for Russia, almost doubled sales in Europe to 80,000 units, while the new electric Megane, launched in the second half of 2022, saw 33,000 sales.

In Europe, Renault reached a market share of 6.4 per cent but its global share dipped slightly to four percent.