As recently as 1995 the French car manufacturer had 2,500 dealerships in Europe. The dealer cuts are part of an overall Renault plan to save €3 billion.
Renault is just one of many car makers cutting dealer numbers as the industry awaits new retailing laws in Europe next year.
The industry's Block Exemption ruling, which allows manufacturers to control their dealers, is expected to be amended or even abolished, as the EC looks to open up the market to new types of retailer.
Renault's partner, Nissan, is going through the same process.
Manufacturers say a drastic cut in dealer outlets will ensure that the remaining sites are profitable, allowing them to invest in better premises and provide a better service. The changes will also mean that a much greater percentage of new car dealers are able to deal with fleets. At the moment, only large dealerships or dealer groups are able to handle major fleet customers. (November 2001)