Renault boosted by sales outside Europe

French carmaker Renault edged its full-year forecast for the global market lower on Monday as growth outside Europe helped its own first-half sales of cars and light commercial vehicles rise 1.9 per cent.

Renault, whose partner is Japan's Nissan Motor, forecast diverging trends between Europe and the rest of the world in the second half, with a 3-4 per cent rise in the overall market for 2011 as a whole but a 0-2 per cent dip in Europe.

In January, before the March 11 earthquake that devastated Japanese automotive parts suppliers and had knock-on effects for the global automotive industry, the carmaker predicted a rise of more than 4 percent for the worldwide market this year.

Renault kept its forecast for Europe but said it now saw a 4-6 per cent fall in its home market of France, compared with a previous prediction of an 8-10 per cent drop.

Carmakers are chasing growth in booming markets such as Brazil and India as sales stagnate in mature regions like Europe, and economic uncertainty and austerity measures threaten consumer spending and future growth.

Renault said the supply difficulties that have affected its own sales in recent months, which were not related to the Japan tsunami but to problems with suppliers ramping up capacity after the financial crisis, should start to ease from July.

"The group's production sites will return to a high level of activity from end-August and our delivery times will become shorter," it said in a statement