Renault to explore distribution models as company denies buyout reports

08 March 2018

8 March 2018

French vehicle manufacturer Renault is looking to evolve its distribution model, keeping a physical presence but evolving both locations and online sales.

A number of carmakers are looking at developing their sales channels, including online showrooms. Renault believes that in order to continue to remain relevant to its customers, it needs to be where they are, bringing showrooms to consumers rather than have them come to the company.

The company is currently testing some different formats of different concepts in different countries, including a new electric vehicle (EV) store in Stockholm. Speaking to Journal Auto, Thierry Koskas, director of trade at the Renault Group, comments: ′We have to evolve on the formats to be present where our customers evolve, as in shopping centres or the city centre, in short, we must get out of the monolithic concept of the shop in the peripheral zone of cities.’

Renault also sees opportunities for its dealers on the used vehicle front, especially as it sees the current ratio of one million used for two million new as insufficient. One idea the company is exploring is a ′megacentre’ of multi-brand used vehicles to ensure dealers can take in any car in part exchange, removing a block on some sales.

Developing online sales is also important. While statistics suggest that during 2017, only 50,000 vehicle sales were made online, compared to 3.7 million cars sold, progression is happening, and consumers are increasingly looking at vehicles online, even if the final purchase is made physically.

′We want a fully coordinated action so that the customer can achieve perfect continuity between his online experience and that at the dealership,’ says Koskas.

Meanwhile, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has dismissed speculation over a possible change in ownership structure, which would see Nissan take a controlling stake.

A number of reports have stated that the French Government is prepared to sell part of its 15% stake in Renault to Nissan, which would give the manufacturer greater control over the alliance. The French carmaker and Nissan formed their alliance in 1999, and last year brought the Mitsubishi brand further into the arrangement.

A spokesperson for the Alliance responded to the reports, saying: ′As announced last week by Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the Alliance is exploring deeper synergies and increased operating convergence, but has no plans to change the cross-shareholding ratio of its member companies. Any discussion about a share transaction involving Renault, Nissan or the French State is pure speculation.’