Renault in The UK
The first popular Renault motor vehicles to achieve sustained sales success in the United Kingdom were the R5 mini-car and R18, both of which attained six-digit sales figures during the late 1970s and early 1980s, although they failed to achieve anything like the volumes of established carmakers Ford, Vauxhall and Austin Rover.
Renault enjoyed a huge rise in popularity among British buyers on the arrival of the Clio supermini in early 1991. It was regularly among Britain's most popular cars each year during the 1990s and its successor (launched in 1998 alongside the final installment of the successful 'Nicole and Papa' advertising campaign), where the original model left off. The sedan/saloon version, called Thalia, was not launched in the UK.
Renault went from strength to strength in the UK during the 2000s following the introduction of its distinctively styled Mégane hatchback in November 2002. Any suggestions that its quirky styling would not fit in with the tastes of British buyers were quickly confounded in 2005 when it was the fourth best selling car in Britain. By 2006 Renault was the third most popular brand of car in the United Kingdom, only Ford and Vauxhall sold more units.
In 2007 Renault UK lost a US$2 million law suit against an independent distributor who had placed orders for 217 cars under a discount scheme intended for members of the British Airline Pilots Association- 3 were legitimate- because they had "made a profit of some sort on every vehicle". Two Renault employees were criticized for having "turned a blind eye" to the very large number of orders.
By 2008, Renault sales had started declining in the UK and the marque was down to eighth most popular brand with 89,570 sales (down 29% compared to 2007) and considerably less than the 194,685 sales made in 2002. Renault suffered more than most main brands in the UK during 2009 as the recession deepened and ended the year with 63,174 sales and a reduced 3.17% market share. In 2010, however, as the economy returned to growth, Renault sold more than 95,000 cars and boosted its market share to 4.71%. However, in 2011 Renault's fortunes fell again. It sold 68,449 cars, down more than 28 per cent on the year before, a 3.53 per cent market share.
The Koleos SUV was withdrawn from the UK in August 2010 due to slow sales under 3,000 units. In late 2011, Renault announced that the Laguna, Espace, Kangoo, Modus, and Wind lines would be withdrawn from the UK due to cutting costs and 55 of its 190 British dealerships would be closed. This change took place in early 2012, leaving the current range limited to the Twingo, Clio, Mégane, Scénic, and the new Twizy and Fluence Z.E. models, and Renault feared that the company's overall sales figures in Britain for 2012 would be around 51,000 - barely a quarter of the record 190,000 sales in 2005.
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