Renault Seeks to Move Beyond Cheating Fears With Growth Target

Renault SA Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn Unveils  Kadjar Compact SUV

Renault SA's Kadjar compact sport-utility vehicle .

Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg
  • French carmaker didn't cheat on emissions, executive says
  • Deliveries this year will grow faster than 3.3% pace in 2015

Renault SAvowed to accelerate sales growth this year, as the French carmaker sought to wave off concerns that it could get caught up in a VW-type emissions scandal.

Renault has come under pressure after it revealed last Thursday that its offices in France were searched by government fraud investigators as part of a probe into vehicle emissions. French peer PSA Peugeot Citroen said it hadn’t been raided. Renault’s shares have tumbled since the revelations, even after France’s Environment Minister Segolene Royal said no fraudulent systems have been found on the company’s cars and shareholders and employees should “rest easy.”

“Renault hasn’t cheated,” Thierry Koskas, the company’s executive vice president for sales and marketing, said at a press conference on Monday in Paris, adding that the company will present a plan to address the gap between its vehicles’ emissions in real-world and laboratory tests within weeks. “I don’t think the current situation will have any consequences.”

Renault shares declined 1.5 percent to 73.98 euros at 1:19 p.m. in Paris. The company has lost more than 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in value since the search was made public.

The French carmaker expects to gain market share, with this year’s deliveries growth forecast to outpace the 3.3 percent increase to 2.8 million vehicles last year. Renault predicted industrywide demand for new vehicles will grow 1 percent to 2 percent worldwide this year.

Renault is expecting to lure more buyers with vehicles such as the new Kadjar sport utility vehicle and is planning to introduce 10 new vehicles this year, including a bigger SUV and an upgraded version of the Megane compact.

Backed by a refreshed lineup, “our growth will accelerate in 2016, and we will improve our positions in all our regions,” Koskas said.

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