Luca de Meo (Renault): “Europe will win the battle for the electric car” | companies

Luca de Meo, CEO of the Renault group, considers that Europe started the battle for digitization late ahead of the United States and China, but he is confident of winning the battle for the electric vehicle, the second great revolution in society.

In an interview published yesterday by the weekly The Sunday newspaper, De Meo confirmed his intention that in 2030 the entire range of the diamond brand will be electric and assured that he is preparing the group for it. “My role is to project Renault into the future and in Europe the future is electric,” he said.

De Meo felt that there are French groups that have the experience to deal with a rapid ecological transition: “Together, we will get there”.

The CEO of Renault, who turned the page on the Carlos Ghosn scene, gave as an example the success of the electric Megane, of which they sold 25,000 units in three months. He acknowledged that there was a problem with the price because “40% comes from the battery” and “of this percentage, 80% depends on the raw materials”, the cost of which they do not control almost entirely. But at the same time, he claimed the commitment to produce electric in Europe, particularly in France, where Renault has created a platform to produce a compact electric vehicle. “It’s a huge economic and industrial challenge. We could have done it in a country at a lower cost. But the soul of a company is in its roots,” said the Italian leader.

After the Ghosn era, when the group sought to increase sales at all costs, De Meo opted for a “change of philosophy” which involves “prioritizing value over volume”. Although he stressed that Renault “will continue to be a popular brand” and expressed his doubts about the possibility of manufacturing high-end vehicles, he assured that his brand’s cars have more value therefore “the customer will have to pay them at their corresponding price”.

De Meo was optimistic about the future of his company, which is entering a cycle of model renewals, with 25 planned until 2026, eleven of which will be electric, such as the new R5 or the 4L, two classics that will not won’t have their new conventional version. He acknowledged that “they will be more expensive to buy, because it costs more to produce them, but not to use them”.

The CEO of the brand, which has just presented positive results, the first for many quarters, considered that the bet could be the salvation of the automotive industry in Europe. “Two revolutions are underway: ecological transition and digitalization. When it comes to digitization, Europe has been slower than the Americans and the Chinese. Regarding the ecological transition, we have both cultural sensitivity and technological assets,” he said.

The former executive of Fiat, Audi or Seat indicated that Renault’s accounts last year allowed the company to get out of “the emergency” and that they have a two-year advantage in the strategic plan launched in January 2021, in a difficult context, with inflation soaring, the chip crisis which caused them to lose some 300,000 sales or the exit from Russia which caused their shares to fall by 35%.

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