COO says Renault could sustain a new, upmarket brand — but it might take 25 years to succeed

A Renault Group premium brand under the Initiale Paris name could take 25 years to become a commercial success, chief operating officer Carlos Tavares has admitted.

The move, which was first rumoured earlier this year and would follow the lead of Nissan with its Infiniti offshoot, would not only complement the firm’s existing brands, Renault and Dacia, but also the potential launch of another new sports car marque with Alpine.

“We have already used the Initiale Paris name for high-end special editions and for a concept car,” said Tavares. “But if we are to launch it as a brand then we must try something more specific.

We must capture buyers who want to buy for the sake of design or attractiveness.”

Tavares is believed to be considering using Renault’s collaboration with Mercedes — which has already led to several joint ventures — to leverage use of the next-generation E-class platform. The first car to be built off the platform is scheduled to be the new C-class in 2013, suggesting a Renault offshoot wouldn’t arrive until at least 2015.

Even then, Tavares does not believe that any new premium brand can expect to achieve quick success. “It took 25 years for Infiniti to reach a point where it could fund its own products, and 30 years for Audi to be a success,” he said.

However he insisted that Renault was big enough to sustain four brands.

“It is clear that the space could be there in the market for an upmarket brand, and that the Renault Group has space for such approaches,” he said.

“Dacia fulfils the role of being a smart purchase, Renault offers a core attractiveness and must always aim at making a potential Volkswagen buyer hesitate and consider it instead, while Alpine could put us in the sports car market if we go ahead with it.”

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12 July 2012

"We must capture buyers who want to buy for the sake of design or attractiveness"

Yes, if someone buys the pictured car for this reason, indeed (s)he should be captured and restrained.

12 July 2012

I don't doubt Renault's rationale, but their execution has always been wayward. I remember being impressed by the original Vel Satis concept in the metal. Sadly, the production version was nowhere near as striking, and bombed as a result.


12 July 2012

I'm with Giulivo on this one, if any production car looks like this it's going to be a disaster of immence proportions.

Can't see Renault selling anything Premium in the UK when they are struggling in everday family car sales.

Saab had some nice designs and a trusted brand with loyal customers who typically returned back to the dealers for more but it just wasn't enough to sustain profitability.

My advice to Renault is to develop city cars and hot hatches as it's only your President who drives anything else from your factory.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

12 July 2012

You can really only ever make a premium brand if the base you run off has some decent quality or demand something renaults are just awful for.  They are just an alternative to peugeot that in my several years of company car experience with were terrible cars from dealer  to reliablity.


I suppose one thing I admire they are not deluded thinking there existing products are premium.  The times I've heard the MG/Rover drivers wine on about this bizarre percieved quality that the cars are 'affordable luxury'?? whilst watching the dated interior fall to bits and the exterior melt your eyes with its beautiful rusty tone.


I do like vision and determination, but sometimes they need to address what is already going wrong before carrying out more risky ventures.

12 July 2012

“It is clear that the space could be there in the market for an upmarket brand, and that the Renault Group has space for such approaches.”

Yes, Mr. Tavares, perhaps the "space" was made by dramatically cutting the model range in the UK ...

12 July 2012

This might work if they establish an entire different dealer network, but the current network simply isnt anywhere near the standards required from a premium manufacturer. It might work in China where it can sell off the back of the cache of being European, but in Europe? Unlikely.

12 July 2012

They're tried this before, haven't they? The Vel Satis and Avantime were a toe-dip into a different, more prestige direction (fail), while the current-gen Laguna was supposed to give up some flair in favour of some understated elegance (fail).

I fear Renault have bigger problems to solve than to try a risky strategy as that of premium brands. At the end of the day, BMW and Audi succeed because they have retained their premium image, despite the fact they sell as well as a regular Mondeo across Europe.

Dacia works well because they fill the no-frills gap left by Hyundai, Kia, Skoda et al... but the flip-side is that those same brands are now strangling Renault. Going after Audi, BMW and Volkswagen is just another step up in competition they probably can't handle!

12 July 2012

The sad fact of the matter is Renault and possibly Peugeot Citroen are being squeezed out by better more reliable Korean products .

I have no doubt Renault could MAKE premium cars . But could they SELL premium cars . TBH the Koreans have more chance of successfully going premium than Renault .

Kia Hyundai are renowned for reliability and have long warranties and better dealers than Renault . They have some fresh designers none of which Renault has . I think the long term prospects for all 3 main French manufacturers are grim .

It will be interesting to see what happens in the future but some European manufacturers must be feeling very vulnerable .

12 July 2012

if the dealer networks they have to compete are zie german ones then their task is fairly  easy. Consult infiniti, tailor it to european standards and they might have a winner

they came, they saw, they lolled

12 July 2012

must be they cut it bad couse it sure is MESSING WITH THEM FIEWLD OF VISION...


s..t, there's another one of them flying alligators floating by....


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