Schweitzer says Renault market share will rise

Renault Chairman Louis Schweitzer predicted Renault would gain market share this year despite a slow first half.

Delayed launches of key products cut Renault sales in the first six months this year. But Schweitzer said the French carmaker would surpass its 2000 market share for the whole year because of more diesel-powered cars, full availability of the new Laguna II and the June launch of the restyled Clio supermini.

Renault profits should increase as well because of cost-cutting measures implemented since April, he said. In one of the measures, Renault "decontented" its Clio, meaning the car no longer offers such features as antilock brakes as standard.

But Schweitzer was pessimistic on the outlook in Latin America, one of Renault's major markets. He still sees no sign of a recovery in Argentina, while the Brazil market is flagging and is likely to shrink from 2000 levels.

Renault's future new products include the radical Vel Satis and Avantime luxury cars, plus the next-generation Espace full-sized minivan.

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