Renault in 'suspended animation'

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Renault in 'suspended animation'

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French car maker Renault says the sales slump in Europe hit profit in the first half of the year.

Its manufacturing arm did earn 87 million euros, but that was down by 35 percent from last year.

The maker of Clio and Megane cars said it burned through 200 million euros in that period and will work harder to conserve cash.

One advantage Renault has in the downturn over its struggling French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen is that it sells low-cost models under its Dacia brand so tapping into increased demand for cheaper cars.

“In a difficult and uncertain environment, Renault remains on track to meet its 2012 objective,” Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said in the company’s statement.

Renault executives are doing an impressive job of keeping the company in “suspended animation” until a broader European recovery takes hold, Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said.

“The patient is not well, but not dying either, unlike some others on the ward,” he said. “The business is being kept alive by strong emerging markets profits and intense cost control in Europe.”