“With Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, these three platforms contribute more than six million vehicles per year,” says de Meo. “When it comes to scale, that puts us in the Champions League.”

Renault will also move from eight powertrain families to four: one battery-electric, one hydrogen fuel cell, one petrol and hybrid, and one diesel. As de Meo notes, the development of all four is essentially done already, further cutting costs.

While reducing costs, the group will also aim to separate its brands. Dacia will retain its focus as a budget-conscious marque and is now paired with Russian brand Lada, which Renault took control of in 2016 but has effectively run as a separate concern. While they have similar market positions, the two brands largely operate in different countries, so there’s little risk of crossover.

With Dacia retaining its positioning, the focus will be on shifting Renault to a more premium position, increasing the potential profit on each car and enabling it to regain its footing in the C-segment. The aim is to achieve that through a focus on design and technology, a change in emphasis that predated de Meo’s arrival but will now accelerate.

Crucial to that will be style-focused models such as the 5 and the new Mégane electric crossover. The latter will be one of seven C- and D-segment Renaults launched in the next five years, starting with the Western European version of the Arkana coupé-crossover.

De Meo has also set a bold course for Alpine, which Renault hasn’t seemed to know what to do with since launching the A110 in 2017. It will become an electric-only performance brand, bidding for an audience above Renault. If that sounds familiar, it’s essentially how de Meo turned Seat’s Cupra model line into a full brand.

Sounds simple, then, and de Meo is clear that “we know what we have to do and have already started doing it”.

The challenges will be ensuring that the Renault Group fully harnesses the economies of scale the Alliance can afford, successfully pushes Renault upmarket and finds market share in larger segments. It won’t be easy, but de Meo has a record of achieving similar goals. And he has a very stylish new concept car to prove just how fast he can act.



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