Friday 14 February 2020 7:55 am

Renault hits the skids as Nissan scandal pushes carmaker to a loss

Renault posted its first loss in a decade today as the French car giant took a hit from its alliance with Nissan, which remains mired in a scandal concerning former boss Carlos Ghosn.

The company lowered its guidance on the back of the results, setting a margin between three and four per cent, down from 4.8 per cent in 2019.

Read more: Nissan records losses amid backdrop of Carlos Ghosn scandal

The figures

Renault made a loss of €141m (£117.1m) in 2019 after it was hit by charges pertaining to some of its joint ventures in China, as well as Nissan’s shrinking income.

Net income fell from €3.5bn in 2018 to just €19m last year, whilst sales fell 3 per cent €55.5bn.

Margins in the firm’s central car business dropped to 2.8 per cent.

Nissan, of which Renault owns 43 per cent, contributed €242m, down from €1.5bn the year before, as the Japanese firm reported its worst year for a decade.

Why it’s interesting

It’s been a year of great challenge for Renault, as the scandal surrounding former Nissan boss Ghosn almost saw the end of its partnership with the Japanese giant.

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In October the French firm ousted its own chief executive, Thierry Bollore, with immediate effect. The move had the approval of the French government, a 15 per cent stake holder in the firm.

New chief executive Luca de Meo will join from Volkswagen in the summer.

Renault was also forced to write off €300m from Chinese operations over the year, where the car market has stalled.

The firm also warned that the coronavirus outbreak could have a knock-on effect on next year’s performance.

What Renault said

In a statement, interim chief executive Clotilde Delbos said: “Renault, despite a troubled year, has been able to achieve results in line with the revised guidance.

Read more: Renault shares hit six-year low amid reports of split plans with Nissan

“Visibility for 2020 remains limited due to expected volatility in demand”.