Renault's sales in the Gulf almost doubled last year compared with the previous year, helping the car maker to sell a record 2.6 million vehicles across the globe, the company says.
Renault said yesterday it sold 14 per cent more cars worldwide last year than the previous year, while sales in the Gulf rose by almost 90 per cent compared with 2009.
"It makes the Renault brand one of the fastest-growing brands in the GCC," said Mustansir Lakdawala, the managing director of Renault GCC. "In the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Renault's sales excelled, with more than 1,300 vehicles sold within the first six months of operation since July 2010."
Renault GCC sold 4,300 vehicles last year, up 90 per cent from 2009. The results are in line with other car retailers' performance in the region, with BMW, Rolls-Royce and GM all reporting a boost in sales last year. It is a turnaround after two years of sluggish sales among both regional and global car dealers.
After signs of economic uncertainty began to appear in the UAE in late 2008 and early 2009, consumers started putting off non-essential and big-ticket purchases.
Meanwhile, UAE banks started shutting off the once free-flowing tap of financing for car buyers, introducing lending criteria such as higher minimum salaries and rejecting applicants who worked in certain industries, such as property. Car retailers in the UAE say securing loans has become easier, but is not yet back at pre-economic crisis levels. Renault GCC's sales comfortably outpaced its sales in Europe, which grew by 7.4 per cent last year compared with the previous year. Sales in the Asia-Africa region grew by 24.5 per cent last year and in the Americasby 38.9 per cent, compared with 2009.
This year, the global car market is expected to grow by more than 4 per cent compared with last year, and Renault plans to "step up our international expansion through all the brands", said Jerome Stoll, Renault's executive vice-president of sales and marketing and light commercial vehicles.