'Renault profit margin peaking after 2009'

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Paris, Sept 15: The chief executive of French car maker Renault expects the company's operating profit margin recovery to peak in 2010 after hitting 6 percent by 2009, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

''We made 2.5 percent of profitability in 2006, we are going to make 3 percent this year,'' Carlos Ghosn told the Figaro newspaper.

''Up to now it was on costs, efficiency and good management of the international operations that we have worked on. For 2008, the product offensive will take the relay with about one new car model per month,'' he added.

''We believe however, that the optimum of our profitabilty improvement plan will not be reached at the end of the plan, in 2009, but in 2010 when we benefit from the impact of the renewal of the Megane model,'' he said.

A company spokeswoman said the 2010 margin would be higher than the 6 percent for 2009.

Ghosn reiterated that the company could not at the moment envisage a re-entry of the U.S. market because it was occupied with other projects such as expansion in Russia and new factories in India and Morocco.

''We have to wait until all the big projects that we have put on the rails reached maturity. The day that you say 'we'll go there' (to the U.S.) it is necessary that all your teams, all your resources are dedicated to it,'' he said.

Ghosn said renewed tie-up talks with General Motors were not on the agenda.

''But in the longer term, the strategy is irrefutable. If you know how to make an alliance such as Renault-Nissan work, we will know how to run an alliance of Renault-Nissan and X. But today the conditions are not united,'' Ghosn said.

Renault has a 44 percent stake in Nissan and Ghosn is also chief executive of the Japanese car maker. The two briefly entered into exploratory tie-up talks with GM in 2006.

Reuters>

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