Renault’s shrinking revenues in the third quarter at first glance seem to confirm the car makers’ unending problems. The French group reported a 3.4-per-cent drop in auto revenue that sent its shares down 3 per cent, even though the company is in better shape than the headline number suggests.
That is especially true when the auto maker is compared to loss-making French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen or to Italy’s Fiat. Renault earned an operating margin of 2.9 per cent in the first half of the year. While lacklustre in itself, measured by the standards of contemporary European mass-market manufacturers, this is not too bad.