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Renault deputy CEO counting on the success of the new Laguna

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PARIS (AP) _ Renault SA is counting on the success of its new Laguna upscale sedan to help turn around the French carmaker's fortunes, deputy Chief Executive Patrick Pelata told Le Monde on Wednesday.

Renault unveiled the specifications of its new Laguna III _ which goes on sale Oct. 12 _ on Tuesday. The replacement for the mid-sized Laguna is part of a planned offensive which will see the launch of 26 new models between 2006 and 2009.

``Even if the company is really counting on the success of this car, the Laguna III doesn't summarize just by itself the future of Renault, it's the first step,'' Pelata told Le Monde.

Earnings fell 20 per cent in the first half of 2006 after what Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn called a ``transition year.'' Ghosn is also pinning his hopes on the rapid expansion of the low-cost Logan sedan _ launching this year in India, Iran and Brazil _ as well as the launch of a new Twingo super-mini.

Despite a recent fall in sales, Pelata told Le Monde he expects the launch of the Logan in Latin America, India, Iran and Russia to allow Renault to meet its objective to sell an additional 800,000 additional cars a year by 2009.

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Renault deputy CEO counting on the success of the new Laguna
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