The Renault brand’s sales are down 35 percent since May 1 in France and this has forced local dealers to offer hefty discounts to customers on certain models, a French radio station reported. According to the BFM radio station quoted by Reuters, dealers are offering discounts as high as 45 percent on some versions of the Clio supermini. For instance, certain dealers are selling the Clio for €7,990 ($11,400), even though the factory sticker is €14,100 ($20,120).
Renault admitted that the French car market remained on a downward trend, but refused to comment the report according to which its sales were down 35 percent. "We cannot communicate on May data before early June...The market for May in France seems down," a Renault spokesman said. He added that decreasing sales were partly due to the end of a car scrappage scheme.
France's successful car incentive program was terminated in December 2010, but drivers who bought cars as part of the program could register them until the end of March.
Renault was one of the hardest hit carmakers in Europe in April recording a 13 percent drop in sales compared to last year with 105,799 units. In the same month, car sales in France declined by 11 percent, according to ACEA, the European automakers association.
Europe's car market shrank for the third consecutive year, falling to 13.8 million vehicles in 2010 from 16 million in 2007, the last year in which it recorded a sales growth.
By Dan Mihalascu