Strategy review could see Renault pull out of markets

20 November 2019

20 November 2019

Renault could withdraw from some markets or reduce the number of models it offers as part of a review of its strategic plans.

The carmaker announced earlier this month that under interim CEO Clotilde Delbos, it would investigate the plans rubber-stamped by Carlos Ghosn under his tenure in charge of the French carmaker. The company wants to move beyond his influence as it looks to stabilise following a year of upheaval.

′We will avoid it if we can, but we have to ask ourselves the question: Can we just keep up the same strategy? I do not think so. The market is changing; we have to adapt,’ Delbos said at a conference.

Under scrutiny

The review is expected to be completed within a few months, with investors hoping that it will allow the carmaker to close the book on the long period of uncertainty after the arrest of its former CEO and Nissan chairman Ghosn following accusations of financial misconduct while in charge at the Japanese carmaker.

Since then, Nissan has struggled with profitability and falling sales as the previous management board fought to take more control of its company in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Renault currently has a 43.4% stake in Nissan, with seats on the board and therefore voting rights on its decisions. However, the Japanese carmaker only has a 15% non-voting stake in the French manufacturer.

The acrimony was one point that led to the break-up of talks between Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) about a possible merger. The Italian company has since opened talks with French rival PSA Group, a move that is likely to lead to a true rival to Volkswagen’s position as Europe’s market leader.

Delbos said she was sure it was possible to make Renault’s alliance with Nissan a lot more efficient than it is.

CEO choices

Renault is set to finalise a shortlist of candidates for its new chief executive in the coming days, with SEAT’s boss Luca de Meo the front-running candidate, according to reports.

Former Airbus executive Fabrice Brégier, chief executive of automotive suplier Faurecia Patrick Koller and Renault’s interim boss Clotilde Delbos are also in the running. Interviews are yet to complete and a decision is not expected before the end of this year.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told the country’s television station BFM on Sunday that he wanted the new boss to be an ′auto industry professional’. The French state is Renault’s largest shareholder, with a holding of just over 15%.

De Meo is seen as a natural fit, having raised SEAT’s profitability since taking charge, pushing the brand into the SUV market and taking it to China. The carmaker has been one of Volkswagen Group’s most consistent marques this year.