French headquartered Renault has unveiled robust sales during 2004. Europe's most successful auto manufacturer says its worldwide market share rose 4.2% over 2003, despite slow demand on its home turf.

Sales of the Renault brand and its stablemates, Dacia in Romania and Samsung in South Korea, reached 2.49 million units.

Renault's strategy has been to maintain profit margins by sacrificing market share in areas of fierce price competition, namely Germany.

Head of sales and marketing Patrick Blain predicts that demand in 2005 will be stable in Western Europe. However, it is in the fast-growing markets of Asia and eastern Europe that sales are expected to increase substantially, evidenced by 2004 figures which recorded a 16% increase in demand in these regions. Sales in western Europe grew by just 0.3%.

Blain expects to report increased profits when full-year earnings are released in February.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff