British car dealers should not panic because of recent "flat but stable sales" according to Renault UK's managing director. Philippe Talou-Derible predicted that this year's market would be "very, very close"to the 2003 record.
He said: "Our dealers are reporting a flat market, nothing flash. We have to be careful because there is no reason to panic.
"The industry has become used to record levels for years and the minute there is no massive influx of customers through showroom doors they start to worry. "
Talou-Derible derived satisfaction from "very strong" light commercial vehicle sales, which he said provided a true economic indicator.
"You don't buy a new van because you fancy it but because you need it for business and business is good," argued the Renault executive.
He claimed: "There is never a better time to buy a new car, whether used or new models because there are genuinely attractive deals all over the place."
His prediction for this year's market was that it could be "a couple of hundred or thousand either way compared to last year. It is a delicate balance, a balletic situation with a lot of manufacturers carrying stock."
Renault's tally for cars and LCVs, he forecast, was likely to finish the year: "a little bit above last year's 209,000 units."Published 27 May 2004