‘Renault is setting the pace of change for others to follow’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Renault is well on the way to becoming an EV-only company

Opinion - Renault Scenic Vision

We’ve written plenty about the ‘Renaulution’ that’s transforming the famous French brand, and the products that are heading our way. Now the latest, the reborn Scenic, has been previewed.

It was launched at the Change Now climate change summit in Paris – an odd location for the launch of a car, but such is the electrification and sustainability journey Renault is on, the organisers asked the company on board.

We spoke with Renault CEO Luca de Meo about his plans to create a separate business unit to focus solely on EVs. “It makes sense from an operational and business point of view,” he told us. “If you look at it like a different sport, it makes sense to play in another stadium with other kinds of players and different training.

“We are doing this to create a new-generation automotive company, including all the work that needs to be done on software and the possibility that technology gives us. In a normal OEM, hardware dictates software, as we’ve done since software was invented. In a new- generation company, you have to turn that around.”

To underline de Meo’s vision, he’s brought a software heavy hitter on board: Luc Julia, the man behind Apple’s voice assistant, Siri. As chief scientific officer, Julia is responsible for making this historic car company think more like a modern, agile tech business.

The whole company is beginning to think differently, and I visited Renault’s Refactory, cleverly reinventing the 1952 Flins plant as a tech and sustainability campus. Tech start-ups are basing themselves there, while Renault has built a ‘used car factory’ inside to refurbish and recycle used cars for dealers – any dealers – in the Paris area.

All car companies are changing, but Renault seems to be doing it a lot faster than most. “We’re talking about turning Renault into a 100 per cent EV brand in Europe by 2030, so we’d better do it five years before the others, rather than waiting for 31 December in 2034,” said de Meo.

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