LONDON - Renault is expanding its directly owned dealer network, but the automaker says it is not aiming to take business away from independent dealers.
Renault is adding outlets in major cities where the high cost of real estate makes it difficult, if not impossible, for independent dealerships to locate and be successful.
"These areas are a greater risk for independent retailers should the industry take a downturn," said Andre Bodis, CEO of Reagroup, Renault's distribution subsidiary. "We are certainly not looking to take business away from independents or to own the whole network."
Bodis added: "If an independent came to us and said they could open a dealership in a major city then we would be happy for them to do that."
Bodis spoke earlier this month at the unveiling of Reagroup's latest outlet, a £4.1 million (E6.1 million) dealership in Enfield, London.
Reagroup is Renault's biggest subsidiary with revenues of E9 billion last year. It has 300 dealerships across Europe employing 15,000 people in 14 major cities.
Reagroup is new name
Last year Reagroup sold 330,000 new and 235,000 used cars in Europe, accounting for 23 percent of Renault's sales in the region.
For the time being, Reagroup will remain a European operation, said Bodis.
"There are no plans to expand to other parts of the world at the moment," he said. "It would be very difficult to control Argentina from Paris, for example. But we now have a new boss [Carlos Ghosn] so he may have some new ideas."
Bodis expects Reagroup's sales of new and used vehicles next year to grow to 600,000 units.
Reagroup is the new name for Renault's retail operations in European markets.
Previously Renault sales subsidiaries in different countries had their own names such as Renault Retail Group in the UK and Renault France Automobiles.
Some Reagroup outlets also sell cars from Renault's Dacia subsidiary and alliance partner Nissan.