French automaker Renault on Wednesday said sales in the first quarter of 2012 fell 8.6 percent year-on-year to 9.54 billion euros ($12.6 billion) due to poor business in Europe. Renault said in a statement that sales in its automobile division, the company\'s biggest unit, fell 9.6 percent to 9.0 billion euros during the January-March period. Vehicle sales worldwide fell by 7.9 percent to 638,498 units, the company said, due to an especially poor performance in Europe where unit sales fell by 20 percent, in an overall market down only 8.1 percent. Sales outside Europe however grew by 12.3 percent, the company said. Like its French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault was hit hard by the end of government cash-for-clunker schemes that saved the European auto market after the financial crisis of 2008.