Renault’s finance arm has lent over €1 billion to motorists here since it opened an Irish operation in 2011.
Renault Bank says it has provided finance to 65,000 private and business customers since it opened in the Republic during the financial crisis, when motorists were struggling to secure loans for new and used Renault and Dacia vehicles.
It coincided with the growth of Personal Contract Plans (PCPs) among Irish car buyers. PCPs are a type of hire purchase agreement, and are now one of the most popular forms of car finance.
The bank also provides warranty and insurance products, not normally offered by traditional banks. Alongside these services it supplies working capital for the Irish network of 26 Renault and Dacia dealers.
"It was never in the plan to lend this amount in this short period of time" explains Alex Zhurkin, managing director of Renault Bank. "We opened our doors in 2011 when the market was extremely depressed. There was an economic crisis in Ireland and it could be argued that it was a bad time to launch a new bank.
“In hindsight, it worked in our favour as access to credit for Irish consumers was extremely difficult without even mentioning low interest rates. We provided both. Initially, we forecasted that we would lend between €50 and €60 million per annum but the demand has been incredible, and this coupled with Renault’s growth in recent years and the introduction of the Dacia brand has helped exceed even our own expectations.”
Renault Bank Ireland is a subsidiary of RCI Bank & Services, which is one of the biggest motor finance companies in the world operating in 36 countries. It employs 30 staff in Dublin.
Renault finished 2018 in eighth place in terms of passenger car sales with 7,176 registrations, with Dacia in 15th place with 3,624. Across both brands the Dacia Duster was the best seller with 1,957 registrations, followed by the Renault Megane with 1,641. Renault was the third most popular brand for light commercial vehicles last year, with 3,449 vans registered during the year.