Renault SA will withdraw five models from the British market and slash the number of authorized dealerships by one-third in response to plunging sales and a weaker pound, a company spokeswoman said.
France's second-biggest carmaker will stop taking orders for vehicles including its Espace people-mover, Laguna mid-sized car and Kangoo passenger van in February, Caroline De Gezelle said on Monday, confirming a report by online trade publication Autocar. The company will also cut about one-third of its 190 dealerships, she said.
The decision is a result of the economic crisis, De Gezelle said. The pound's weakness against the euro is part of the difficulty we're facing in the UK.
The pound has tumbled 16 percent against the euro since the end of 2008, squeezing the profitability of British sales of vehicles assembled in France with euro-denominated production costs.
The partial withdrawal from the No.3 European auto market follows a 29 percent plunge of Renault's January-November registrations that reduced its market share to 3.5 percent, compared with 4.7 percent in the year-earlier period and 7.6 percent for the full-year 2002.
Other models to be dropped from British showrooms are the Modus compact minivan and Wind roadster, the company said. Its top British sellers, the Megane compact and Clio mini, will remain on sale.
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Elena Berton)