Virus impacts Renault Q1 sales

French automaker Renault reported Thursday a 19.2 percent plunge in the first quarter of the year amid a general market collapse caused by the novel coronavirus.

The company plans to ask for state loan guarantees to make it through a rough patch after being downgraded by ratings agencies, a statement said.

Renault will also not propose a dividend at its in June and declined to give an outlook for the rest of the year because the pandemic's impact on results "is still impossible to assess".

Sales for the three months to the end of March fell to 10.1 billion euros ($10.9 billion), a drop of 19.2 percent from the same period one year earlier.

In the first three of 2020, it's automobile activities burned up 5.5 billion euros, but the said it still had 10.3 billion in reserves at the end of March.

Like its rivals, Renault shut down most of its plants in March, and is slowly beginning to resume operations at some sites in Europe.

For the first time ever, Renault sold more vehicles in Russia than in France in the first quarter of the year (115,713 to 110,467), because authorities in Moscow issued confinement guidelines later than counterparts in Paris.

In terms of volume, results in Europe were down 36 percent, with Dacia, one of the group's best selling brands, dropping by 44.5 percent.

One bright spot was seen in India however, where group's sales gained 3.5 percent while the sector was 22.8 percent lower overall.

In South Korea, the new XM3 sports utility vehicle helped Renault post a sales gain of 20.1 percent, while the sector was 6.8 percent weaker.

© 2020 AFP

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