Five questions for Thierry Koskas, EVP sales and marketing--
Hello Thierry. How would you sum up the world motor market in 2015?
The world market grew by just over one percentage point in 2015. Situations in emerging countries varied very widely: the Indian market showed definite signs of picking up in 2015, whereas growth slowed somewhat in China, and there was no let-up in the crisis conditions hitting Brazil and Russia. The situation was much less ambiguous in North America and Europe, where the strong market upswing continued.
What was the outcome on Renault’s new vehicle sales in Europe in 2015?
New product releases and strong performance from Renault teams enabled us to raise our market share on this growth market. We gained ground pretty much everywhere in Europe. Our market share in France is the highest it’s been in the last four years. We climbed to top ranking in Spain and Belgium. And we achieved a record market share in Italy. Those are very fine results. Then there’s our ongoing leadership on the LCV market (for the 18th year running), our number-one position in electric vehicles, and record sales for Dacia. Both Renault and Dacia reap full benefit from the rising market tide.
Would we be right in seeing a more complex situation elsewhere in the world?
Some markets are indeed suffering crisis conditions, but we managed to stand firm and defend our positions. In Brazil, for example, we posted our highest-ever market share, despite the steep market decline. In Algeria, our market share rose by more than eight percentage points, again despite a shrinking market. That’s quite exceptional. In Russia, another crisis-hit country, we focused on maintaining margins, and managed to hold our market share fairly steady. Then I owe a mention to my former colleagues in Argentina, who kept their market share virtually undented despite drastic import constraints.
Could we say that conditions were tough on most of our main markets outside Europe in 2015?
We did indeed have to adapt to difficult economic situations on many markets that are important for us, but as I said, we managed to hold our ground. And conditions were brighter on some markets, as in India, where Kwid enjoyed a very successful launch, with orders standing at 80,000 already. Another example is Turkey, where we achieved record sales in 2015. In Korea, sales volumes are holding firm after the steep rise in 2014. And there are plenty of other examples of fine performance from Groupe Renault, as in Colombia, Byelorussia, Morocco and Egypt.
Do you think the situation on international market will be as thorny in 2016?
Market volatility is a fact of life. But Renault’s business today is a global business, which means we’re less dependent on specific individual markets. That’s very clear when you realize that our sales show a steady rise of around 100,000 units per year over the last three years, despite market fluctuations.
That’s the great strength of Renault today, and it will become even more apparent in 2016, with real take-off in China and business development in India.