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RENAULT SOUTH AFRICA

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succeed? D ri v en to

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rench carmaker Renault’s profits plunged 39 percent in the first half of the year, driven in part by expenses related to changes in the product cycle. The company sold a record number of vehicles outside Europe from January to June, off-setting a sharp fall-off in its core

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market. Sales slipped one percent for the first half to 20.9 billion euros. Net profit was 746 million euros. The company said that it expects that trend to continue in the second half of the year. It predicted the French market will contract 10 to 11 percent and the rest of Europe will shrink six to seven percent.


Renault focus AUTOMOTIVE

South Africa plays a significant role in Renault’s global plan for sustainable growth and new product development. By Marie Toms

Global demand should rise five percent, it said. South Africa will likely play an increasingly important role. The auto giant returned to the country in 1996 with little fanfare, via a partnership with Imperial Holdings’ Imperial Car Imports division.

Back then the average South African had little knowledge of the brand. The older generation had some recall of the Renault 5 of the 1970s, but that was about it. It is all a far cry from what Renault South Africa is today. “Renault has once again established itself as a leading contender,” the former CEO of www.southafricamag.com

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Renault focus AUTOMOTIVE

Renault SA, Xavier Gobille told South Africa Magazine when we interviewed him back in 2011. “The trendsetting Renault Scenic MPV, the Renault Mégane and the Clio have become familiar sights on our roads. “Renault has proven its presence in the South African Motor Industry by its phenomenal growth and quality improvements,” he said. “Today Renault is performing extremely well and has experienced a marked increase in sales volumes as a result of some great new product launches enabling the brand to break into and compete competitively in new segments.” Renault’s commitment to South Africa is

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unquestionable. “We are totally committed to Renault’s success in South Africa... South Africa plays a significant role in Renault’s global plan for sustainable growth and new product development. Our investment in local South African production is significant and just a part of our long-term commitment to this country,” he added. Mr Gobille was replaced by Susumu Uchikoshi as CEO of Renault SA on August 1. Uchikoshi comes to South Africa from Nissan Egypt, where he held the position of chairman and MD from August 2009. His move to South Africa is part of the RenaultNissan Alliance’s ongoing strategy of international

With such a team in place, I believe we are well positioned to further expand our business


cross-pollination between the two motoring manufacturers. Uchikoshi completed a Masters degree in physics at Keio University before joining Nissan Motor Company in 1991 as an engineer, working on semiconductor devices for the automotive sector. Uchikoshi said in a statement that he looks forward to his new role in South Africa. “A company’s most important assets are its people and I must congratulate Xavier Gobille on assembling such a young, talented and dynamic team, backed by a well-established network loyal to the brand. “With such a team in place, I believe we are well positioned to further expand our business. The introduction of new models will, of course, serve to underscore this growth.” The Renault reputation for quality of product, superior driving experience and quality of service has made it a sought-after franchise. South Africans certainly like it. The auto giant has big plans for SA and recently set up a dedicated fleet business. “If you are a government department and if you have a Vat number, we want to do business with you, whether it is one vehicle or ten vehicles,” Renault SA pre-owned, fleet and rental manager Brian Smith told Engineering News Online. According to the report, Renault’s 50-strong dealer network has, until now, largely been retail salesorientated and the launch of Renault Fleet will see this focus realigned to include fleet business and the long-term planning sales to the fleet sector entails. 6

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Renault focus AUTOMOTIVE

The Renault reputation for quality of product, superior driving experience and quality of service has made it a sought-after franchise

“We think we can do better in the fleet business and Renault Fleet is the vehicle we want to use to achieve this,” the report quoted Smith saying. According to Renault’s data, Renault SA has a five percent market share in government passenger car sales sector. The Department of Defence, the South African Police Service and the KwaZuluNatal Department of Health have all been Renault customers. Renault’s new fleet programme is backed by an online presence, at www.renaultfleet.co.za, providing an immediate contact point as well as information on products, parts pricing and so forth. It has also undertaken to deliver seven valueadded services that will come standard with every fleet vehicle sold – including a five-year/150 000 km factory warranty on all vehicles. END

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