COO says Renault could sustain a new, upmarket brand - but it might take 25 years to succeed. Autocar spoke to the man in charge:
Is Renault in financial trouble?
“No. We are managing the situation. We are over-reliant on Europe, but we have diverse interests around the world and opportunities to develop them and spread the risk.”
So are you backing out of Europe?
“No. We still want to be the second or third largest manufacturer in Europe. Racing after Volkswagen makes no sense, as it wants to be the biggest no matter what the cost and we have enough problems with over-production as it is.”
How do you improve your European situation?
“First, we must sort pricing. To sell cars at the discounts we have done when they have made such quality gains is madness. Having market share is useless if you destroy your profitability. Better profits will only come from a stronger brand.”
Do you want to move production out of France?
“It’s true we could build a Clio for 1200 euro [£960] less in Turkey, but half of that figure is related to labour costs. The rest is down to performance — of suppliers, logistics and so on. It is an issue of management. I am happy to have plants in France, but I request that they match the best in Europe, such as Nissan’s plant in Sunderland. These are real people, not people from Mars, so why can we not match them?”