Argenteuil: Orders for Renault cars were boosted in December by a government-sponsored €1,000 bonus for French consumers who trade in old cars for new lower-emission models, a top executive at the automaker said Tuesday.
The measure, introduced by President Nicolas Sarkozy on 4 December, is part of a €26 billion ($35 billion) stimulus plan designed to ward off the worst of the economic crisis and shore up automakers.
During a visit to a Renault SA dealer in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, chief operating officer Patrick Pelata told government ministers Patrick Devedjian and Luc Chatel that the bonus “allows us to cushion ourselves from this crisis.”
Renault calculates that orders in December were 40% higher in France than they would have been without the incentive, he said. The French car maker has extended the bonus scheme to car buyers trading in older models for younger used cars, he said.
The orders will show up in vehicle registrations in February and March, Renault spokeswoman Nathalie Bourotte said.
In December, new car registrations plunged 16% from a year earlier, the French carmakers association said Monday. Registrations for the 12 months of 2008 were 0.6% lower than 2007.
To deal with the crisis, Renault has been reducing inventories by cutting or temporarily halting production on some sites.
Pelata said the car maker has beat its goal of cutting stocks of vehicles and parts. Inventories were less than €5.9 billion at the end of 2008, compared with €6.4 billion in July, he said.