Renault, BMW and VW reveal 2020 sales declines

Like its Japanese alliance partner Nissan, French automaker Renault went into the global health crisis with existing challenges.

It had been backing away from an aggressive expansion plan pursued by Carlos Ghosn, its former boss-turned-fugitive.

On Tuesday (January 12) Renault said its worldwide sales fell by over 21% last year, underperforming a decline in the global car market.

But the company insists its turnaround plan is still on track.

Adding that a key focus is on profitability, not sales volume.

European sales for the brand fell by a quarter.

But sales of electric vehicles in the region were strong, and more than doubled from 2019.

Renault last year announced plans to cut about 15,000 jobs and restructure French plants in a bid to save 2 billion euros, or 2.4 billion dollars.

The carmaker wasn't alone in seeing 2020 sales declines.

On Tuesday BMW said it saw an 8.4% fall.

Despite demand picking up in the fourth quarter, its European sales were down over 15% for the year.

But in China, where the pandemic has been brought under control faster, sales bucked the trend with an increase.

Fellow German carmaker Volkswagen said on Tuesday that sales of its core brand dropped by 15%, with lockdowns hitting car dealerships around the world.

VW said it had seen sales recovering in December compared to previous months.

It's also seeing the surge in demand for electric vehicles, with demand for its EV models jumping by 158% for the year.