French automaker Renault reported that first-half vehicle sales fell 7.4 percent in Europe but it expected record sales worldwide thanks to booming emerging markets, it said on Monday.
International sales rose 1.9 percent to 1.37 million vehicles for the first half of the year, the company said in an earnings statement. In Europe sales fell 7.4 percent to 831,700 units, with a 9.9 percent fall in France.
The company said it was hoping to sell more than 2.6 million vehicles, a record, over the whole of 2011, as its international sales improved, diverging from its weaker performance in France and throughout Europe.
Outside Europe, sales grew by a fifth to 542,000 vehicles in the first half of 2011 and accounted for 40 percent of the group's total sales.
"Despite mixed results in Europe, the group continued to grow sales, setting a record for first-half sales," executive vice-president Jerome Stoll said in an earnings statement.
"This performance was based as expected on strong international growth (outside Europe), with an increase of more than 20 percent, thanks notably to two key countries for the group, Brazil and Russia."
It said it also performed well in Iran, with sales up 70 percent and a 4.7 percent share of the market, thanks to its Logan and Megane brands.
Another key target for Renault is India, where it launched its Fluence model this year and plans five more models this year and next, including its low-cost four-wheel drive "Duster" vehicle built by its subsidiary Dacia.
Stoll told a news conference on Monday that the group aims to "prioritise big emerging countries with prospects for growth."
Renault is due to launch three electric vehicle models this year: the Fluence, Kangoo and Twizy.
Sales of Renaults and Dacias suffered in France owing partly to the ending of a government bonus schemed for trading in old vehicles and also to low stock levels which struggled to keep up with demand.
"We lacked stocks, we lacked cars. We did not lack customers," said Stoll.
Renault is France's second-biggest car maker after CSA Peugeot Citroen.
Stoll said Renault hoped for worldwide sales of three million vehicles a year or more in 2013.