If you look at half year sales in Europe, then you see Renault as the worst performer of the volume makers. With EU sales down 17.09 percent, the Renault Group took a bigger hit than European patients Opel (- 15 percent) and PSA (-13.9 percent). Even troubled Fiat was doing better than Renault, by a hair (-17.08 percent for Fiat.) Whereas the percentages carry the smell of death, Renault’s half year results smell downright rosy.
The Renault Group reported a half year group profit of €1.02 billion ($1.26 b) before tax, and €786 million after tax. While this is nowhere near the X-rated profits of Volkswagen, or those of Daimler, a billion euro is a billion euro, and it is a miracle when your home market collapses.
Why the difference? Renault appears the best managed carmaker in trouble. Sure, most of the profit (€630 million) comes from Renault’s shares in other companies, notably Nissan. As Volkswagen and Daimler will confirm, global diversification is a good hedge against regional calamities. Sure, a big chunk of the money (€395 million) comes from sales financing. A well run bank that does not dabble in mortgages or currency gambles is beneficial to a carmaker’s bottom line. Still, Renault has eked out €87 million from making and selling cars, which is, it bears repeating, a miracle.
Astounded analysts expected Renault’s auto manufacturing business to report a loss. “The patient is not well, but not dying either, unlike some others on the ward,” Bernstein analyst Max Warburton told Reuters.