Renault UK is set to rebuild in 2013 after the challenge of the last year, according to Thierry Sybord, its managing director.
Sybord said the company has done everything it had set out to do in 2012 – rationalisation of its product range to focus on profitable models, roll out of the 4+ package, reduction of its sales points by a third, and cut the fixed costs at head office.
That was the transition phase of Renault UK’s renewal plan. Now it is preparing to launch six cars in six months: The Duster, Sandero and Sandero Stepway under its new value-priced Dacia brand, and a fourth generation Clio, B-segment SUV badged Captur and Zoe electric car under the Renault brand.
Sybord added: “The good news for us is that in 2012 we did the most difficult thing, with all the cuts. But it means we start 2013 in a much healthier situation.
"It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but we are in the best shape we’ve ever been in.”
He said the cuts in the franchised network – the closure of some 60 locations – were done in a human way.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but Renault talked to franchisees on a case by case basis, he said, and partners understood the reasoning behind its actions.
Equally difficult were the redundancies at head office, which meant the loss of some skilled and very experienced people.
Now dealers are fired up at the opportunities presented by Dacia and the new Clio and Captur.
Clio, described as "a strategic car" for Renault, is expected to account for more than 25,000 annual sales, many of them conquesting customers from other brands.
Around 2,000 forward orders have already been taken for Dacia ahead of the brand’s launch next month – the dealers used left hand drive cars to show customers until the RHD models arrived from India in late December.
Sybord said Dacia has enjoyed success elsewhere in Europe - including becoming the fifth largest retail car brand in France - so he cannot see it failing in the UK, the last country to launch it.
Many customers will come from the used car market, and some will be existing Clio owners who cannot afford the step up to Renault's more premium new model.
Dacia is a 'pull' business model, Sybord said, and has no volume bonus for dealers, so sales will be real sales.