It was waiting to be catastrophic : they are. Hit by the pandemic of the Covid-19 and the poor health of Nissan, Renault has posted first-half net loss, the most important in its history : eur 7.3 billion ! It represents a little less than half of the turnover of the group, which has declined, as the average in the automotive sector, 34 %, to 18.4 billion euros. Nissan, of which the French group holds 43 % of the share capital, in particular, has penalized the builder to the tune of 4.8 billion euros. The operating margin was negative, at - € 1.2 billion, compared with + € 1.7 billion in the first half of 2019. Renault, which has in addition to the Diamond design of the brands Dacia, Lada, Alpine and Samsung Motors, suffers from overcapacity at a global level. "The health crisis [...] has been added to our existing difficulties," said its deputy director-general Clotilde Delbos.
the New director-general of the Rhombus, since the 1st of July, Luca de Meo acknowledges that " the situation is unprecedented." "We touch at this moment the low point of a negative curve, which was started several years ago ", he explains, in reference to the race of volumes allocated to the former boss, Carlos Ghosn, is deposed after having been arrested in Japan for alleged violations, and who is a refugee in Lebanon. The car manufacturer takes the risk to any forecast for the coming months.
But the boss of the Italian Renault believes that the situation "is not without appeal," and said to have " confidence in the ability of the group to bounce ", he added. He announced " better times at the end of a winding road ". A rebound that will, however, take time. "This is not going to last fifteen days, instead of a dozen months. But now, we are going to continue to fly the ship as an ocean liner and not like a small boat that changes all the time direction ", he promises. "The flag that matters, it is the value. We are going to transform the whole system volume to value, " he says. He talks about the tracks to renew the product range of Renault by the end of 2022, the beginning of 2023. "The center of gravity of the range should be a little higher, he argued. This is a delicate phase with the transition to purely electrical. It is necessary to see how to manage the duality of engine. But I have a lot of cards in hand and I need to put on the good numbers. "
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" One is yellow and one plays the yellow "
Renault could thus strengthen its offer on the cars of large size as those in the cities, those in the C-segment (Mégane, Logan...). After its success at the manufacturer's Spanish Seat, where he completely changed the line up and launched the brand's sporty Cupra, Luca de Meo wants to invest "on the segments of markets that are growing and profitable," and fundamentally change the design of the models. First deed of arms, the new management of Renault comes to seduce Gilles Vidal, one of the designers, the stars of the PSA. This man has been the architect of the expansion of the range of the lion brand, crowned by the success of the 3008.
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Luca de Meo does not hide not, moreover, his admiration for the competitor habs PSA, directed by Carlos Tavares, who has defied the crisis and recorded a net profit of 595 million euros in the first half. "PSA is doing a great job over the past few years. We are admiring. We would like to be closer to her performance ", announces the new DG of the firm Boulogne-Billancourt. This last, however, to preserve the identity of Renault in the face of the Lion. "It's a healthy rivalry that we want to feed, a source of inspiration but to the sauce, Renault, we are not going to violate the culture of the company. One is yellow and one is playing the yellow. "
At the geographical level, Clotilde Delbos suggests that the choice of allocation of capital will be based " hopes of return ". So more in Europe, which is expected to rebound, rather than in Latin America, very impacted by the crisis of the Covid-19, and that could put more time to get up.
For a time, Luca de Meo has not evoked a tightening of the cost-reduction plan unveiled at the end of may. It includes 15,000 jobs in the world, 4 of which 600 in France. With respect to the assets, it doesn't venture again to refer to the changes in scope of consolidation. "It has been four weeks that I am here, with the impact of the Covid-19, you can't even move too much. I went to Romania, but I have not yet done the tour of all the activities, " he says. It is necessary to first think of what we can value. Renault is very much under-estimated, so that there is a level, beautiful projects, technology, assets. I need a little time to talk about the two sides of the same coin. "The new DG of the Diamond rents, in particular, the quality of the new hybrid models E-TECH and the new platform to power the alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi, to the top of the industry, according to him. "Renault has the best hybrid on the market in Europe, it is necessary that you really enjoy ", pleaded he. Luca de Meo will start work this summer at the mammoth task of redressing Renault. It displays for the hour of his optimism : "We are currently working on, we have taken more decisions in the last few weeks than in two years," he says.
His plan of conquest, on which there is a team of over forty executives on the top floor of the headquarters of Renault in Boulogne-Billancourt, will be unveiled in January 2021.