Paris (AFP) - French carmaker Renault said Tuesday that its sales rose by 3.1 percent in 2013 to 2.63 million vehicles thanks to accelerating performance by its low-cost Dacia brand.
"We achieved these results in an environment not very favourable to the company," Renault's executive vice president for sales and marketing, Jerome Stoll, told journalists.
However the company's share price slid 0.16 percent to 67.89 euros, as the 2013 growth lagged the overall car market which expanded 3.9 percent, and was down from the 6.3 percent sales growth recorded in 2012.
Low-cost vehicles made up 41 percent of total sales of the group, which includes the Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors brands, up from 37 percent the previous year, said a company spokesman.
The Duster, a SUV with 4WD as an option that is sold both under the Dacia and Renault brands, was its top-selling vehicle with nearly 377,000 sold, according to a statement.
Dacia sales rose by 19.3 percent to nearly 430,000 units, breaking the 400,000 level for the first time.
"2013 was a lucky year for Dacia whose performance was excellent," Dacia commercial manager Thomas Dubruel said Tuesday in Bucharest.
The Renault group's sales rose 2.4 percent in Europe, a market that dipped 1.7 percent last year. French sales slid 0.7 percent.
International sales were held back after international sanctions were tightened in Iran -- an important market for the group, but still rose by 0.4 points to 50.5 percent of the total.
"Renault has clearly become an international group," said Stoll.
Renault sees the global car market growing by 2.0 percent in 2014, with the European and French markets recovering with 1 percent growth.
Stoll said Renault would pursue its strategy of profitable growth.
"In 2014 we will continue with two priorities: increasing our global volumes and pursuing our recovery in Europe," he said.
And Renault is still targeting increasing sales to 3 million cars per year, which it had originally hoped to hit in 2013.
"That is not an objective which has been abandoned, far from it" said Stoll, saying it has just been "postponed".
Renault is expected to update its medium-term targets next month when it announces results.
Renault's sales results contrasted sharply with those of its French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen, which said Monday its global sales dropped by 4.9 percent last year.