India not an easy market, Renault searching for secret sauce to success – CEO Luca de Meo | Autocar Professional

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Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group claims that “India is not an easy market – and a lot of car makers have had to bite the dust,” yet, the French car maker is “not shying away from the market and is ready to bet on India for the future,” along with its alliance partner Nissan.   

The company is right now figuring out the ‘secret sauce’ to cater to the Indian market to set things right in its new phase, said the CEO.

“We need to find our secret sauce and in the past maybe the only thing we were focusing on was trying to get the cheapest possible car to get access to mobility, but the market is changing a lot, so we have to be a little bit more creative,” he said.

Luca admits that for sure the market is very competitive, however, Renault is here to ‘prove that India will play an increasingly important role in the alliance in each one of the companies.’

“I think we were amongst the first to believe in the potential of this market and we still believe in it, so 17 years ago. You know in the meantime we also understood that we can deliver,” he added.

He was candid in accepting that the brand Renault is right now ‘at a low point of its life cycle in India,’ “but it had the opportunity to prove that we could be very successful in this market,” he reminded of the brand’s past success.

To be sure, Renault in its 17 year history in the country has delivered hits from Logan sedan to Duster SUV to Kwid hatchback, but it has not been able to sustain the momentum in the marketplace.

With a new phase of investment along with alliance partner Nissan, Renault will be re-entering the mid-size SUV market in 2025 and it is close to finalising its EV plans for the Indian market.  

“It is also fair to say that not everything is pink. India is not an easy market for OEMs, for sure. It is very competitive and there are many challenges. A lot of car makers have to bite the dust. On our side, we’ve proven that we were not shy and that we were also ready to bet on India and work with all the stakeholders to build a favourable condition,” said de Meo.

The head of Renault Global agrees that the current scale of the company is sub-par and probably the brand is also a little late in the market also, yet the brand is here to do the “right things now.”

He also reiterated that the brand is at “a turning point” in general, but especially “in the Indian market.”

“We’re going to extend our lineup to new segments thanks to a new state-of-the-art platform that we will localise, carrying four cars. There will be two five-seater SUVs and two seven-seater SUVs, two for each company. We will offer very modern, advanced design and technology. I can guarantee that we’re trying to push very, very high in terms of technology and product content,” he assured.

On the potential of entering the EV market, De Meo reminded that the Alliance has been a “pioneer” and has the longest experience with this technology.

Given the changing electric vehicle landscape globally, there is a ‘rethinking in our strategy’.

“We do that because we know it’s crucial to come up with a plan that would be really solid, effective and sustainable,” added De Meo.

People in the know say the grounds up EV planned last year, is being re-evaluated and can even be dropped.  

The company is closely watching the evolving EV ecosystem in India and the developing public infrastructure support to manage the transition to electrified vehicles including hybrids.

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