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Mégane boosts Renault sales

Renault has announced today that its worldwide sales have risen 4.2% in 2004.

The carmaker put its success down to recent cost cuts and the popularity of its revamped mid-size Mégane model.

Renault said that Western Europe, its core market, would continue to be the focus of attention in 2005 where it hopes to maintain “market share at a similar level as 2004 while maximising profitability”.

But it said that the extension of its no-frills Logan programme and face lifts for its Laguna and Vel Satis models in 2005 should also help build market share beyond Europe.

During the year Renault sold 2.49m vehicles, including its Renault Samsung and Dacia brands. Sales at Renault’s own brands were up 4.5% at 2.31m.

There was a small improvement in Western European sales but outside the region sales were strong, rising 16.4%.

Expansion outside the Europe prompted Louis Schweitzer, the carmaker’s chief executive, to forecast in September that its worldwide vehicle sales in 2005 would reach 2.5m. In July the group raised its 2004 profit target to 5.5%.

Renault’s optimism contrasts with the gloom surrounding European competitors such as Volkswagen, which earlier this year slashed its profit forecasts.

In the medium-sized car market, Renault said its Mégane remained the top selling car in Western Europe for the second consecutive year, with 4.8% of the market.

The group said its Modus, which Renault launched in September 2004, had secured 80,000 orders in Western Europe.

PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault’s French rival, will give a sales update tomorrow.

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