Renault says price hikes help sales grow in Q3, confirms outlook

PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Renault (RENA.PA) said on Friday its sales rose to 9.8 billion euros ($9.57 billion) in the third quarter as price increases allowed the French carmaker to more than offset a fall in the number of cars sold from the previous year.

Overall group revenues grew by 20.5% when adjusted for the disposal of its former Russian unit Avtovaz, Renault said, adding that it had recorded its best-ever price effect as quarterly vehicle sales decreased by 2.4% from last year.

Global carmakers are grappling with a semiconductor shortage, soaring energy costs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply chain bottlenecks and a looming recession in Europe.

Renault’s third-quarter sales figure of 9.8 billion euros was in line with an analyst consensus provided by the company.

The company, an early mover in the race to produce electric vehicles, is seeking to reposition itself as a more premium manufacturer with models such as Megane and Austral, while also striving to keep its customer base at the lower end of the market..

Renault heads into the year’s final quarter with major challenges ahead as it is finalising plans to split its thermal engine and electric vehicle departments into two separate units amid tense talks aimed at reshaping its strategic partnership with Nissan (7201.T).

Renault is Nissan’s largest shareholder with 43% while the Japanese automaker owns 15% in its partner.

The two companies said last week they were in talks about a new phase in their partnership that could include Nissan investing in Renault’s new electric vehicle venture.

Such a shift could mean the biggest reset in their relationship since the 2018 arrest of longtime chief executive Carlos Ghosn. Talks so far have included consideration of Renault selling some of its Nissan stake, sources have said.

The French carmaker, which is due to hold an investor presentation on Nov. 8, on Friday also confirmed its full-year outlook, including an operating margin target of over 5% compared with 3.6% in 2021.

($1 = 1.0238 euros)

Reporting by Gilles Guillame and Tassilo Hummel; Writing by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Tom Hogue