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Renault Lowers Sales Target

French automaker lowered its target for sales of cars and light trucks to a 5 percent to 10 percent increase this year after first-half sales came in well below forecast.

PARIS (AP) -- French automaker Renault lowered its target for sales of cars and light trucks this year after first-half sales came in well below forecast.

The group expects sales to rise between 5 percent and 10 percent, Renault spokeswoman Gita Roux said, instead of its earlier growth target of 10 percent.

Renault SA sold 1.33 million cars and light trucks in the first half, 4.3 percent more than a year earlier.

In a statement, the company said its second-half growth would "depend to a large extent on economic and financial developments, still highly uncertain," and their impact on car markets in Europe, and "particularly in France."

Renault's shares rose 0.2 percent to 49.91 euros ($78.29) at midday Wednesday in an overall rising Paris market.

In February, Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn warned that 2008 would be a tough year for car makers because of global economic uncertainty. But he predicted that "whatever happens in Europe, we will increase our volumes by 10 percent."

Rival French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen on Tuesday reported a 4.6 percent increase in first half vehicle sales. Peugeot warned that European car markets will continue to slow in the second half, after a 3 percent decline in the first six months of the year. Peugeot said that for all of 2008, vehicle sales in Europe are expected to fall 4 percent.

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