Renault is back on the offensive. The manufacturer, barely last year with an announced loss of 141 million euros and whose results, like those of other manufacturers, will drop sharply in 2020 due to the crisis, outlined this week the future of the “product plan” for the next few years. The latter goes through the electric.
The Spring, the future cheapest electric car on the market
Two models were put forward. The Dacia Spring first, a small SUV that will only be available in an electric version. It should experience a triple commercial launch, from the start of 2021. It will first be put into service in the fleets of Zity, Renault’s car-sharing offer, which already operates hundreds of Zoe in Madrid, as well as ‘in Paris and some nearby towns. Then, a version for individuals. Finally, the Spring will be offered in the form of a small utility vehicle, intended for professionals who like urban or peri-urban journeys.
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The announced autonomy is about 225 kilometers: it will therefore not be necessary to plan very long journeys aboard the Spring, a vehicle that does not exceed a ton. ” We can integrate the quality of Renault while remaining at reasonable prices », Affirms a Dacia manager, confirming that the original Romanian brand has become, since its acquisition twenty years ago by Renault, a real pillar of the group.
The Spring will be assembled in China. If its price has not been announced, it should become the cheapest electric car on the market.
A brand new electric platform
The other car that Renault presented was more in the form of a concept car, called Mégane eVision, but a version of which will be very close, assembled from 2021 in Douai (North) and marketed from the year next. The stakes are very high: the Mégane eVision is based on a brand new platform, called CMF-EV and designed with Nissan.
This platform innovates by the flat and more compact arrangement of the battery cells, and must be used for vehicles measuring up to 4.70 m. ” Sometimes we have good surprises when we arrive in a company “, Points out Gilles le Borgne, recent defector from rival PSA and called upon to cover all of Renault’s engineering, thus paying tribute to the genesis of the project, well in advance of its arrival.
Refocusing on compact sedans
In addition to the technical challenges, there are more commercial ones because the vehicles built on this platform target the compact sedan market, the first in Europe. ” We are refocusing on C and C + segments », Explains Luca de Meo, the new CEO of Renault, who has been in charge since 1is July. ” This will be our response to the new Volkswagen ID.3 »Adds the one who comes … from the Volkswagen group.
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However, not all models succeeding the current version of the Mégane will be 100% electric; a good part of them will have hybrid engines, rechargeable or not. It remains that the turn is strong for the French manufacturer, whose success of the first generations of Mégane, in the years 1990, had allowed him to establish its place on the Old Continent.
The gradual withdrawal of thermal engines should accelerate the brand’s move upmarket and help the strategy that Luca de Meo has planned: to focus first on the margin achieved by the models before the volume produced. He does not hide his eye on the method that the CEO of PSA, Carlos Tavares, has been applying for six years.
Alpine in Formula 1
This development makes Renault’s presence in more upscale models uncertain. ” Space is a pretty name in Renault history, we will support its life cycle “, Notes Luca de Meo in particular, more evasive on the follow-up to be given to him by reminding that” at one point, the story stops ».
Renault also presented this week the Arkana, a sort of coupe SUV, produced by Samsung in South Korea and launched in Europe from 2021.
The Alpine brand has not been forgotten, since it will succeed the Renault team in Formula 1. ” This sport has 500 million fans around the world », Explains Luca de Meo, who hopes for more notoriety for the Dieppe manufacturer, in the fold of Renault since the 1970s.