Renault is one of the leading car and light commercial vehicle brands in Western Europe, but until comparatively recently it had only a minimal presence outside that region. However, in a few key deals during the two decades from 1999, Renault transformed itself into a global force with substantial operations in Asia and a foothold in North America. Where once there was only the Renault brand, the group now controls Japanese marque Nissan via a 43% shareholding, as well as Dacia in Eastern Europe and Samsung Motors in Korea. In 2007, the group also agreed an important strategic partnership with Russian manufacturer AvtoVaz, which gave Renault effective management control of the widely known Lada car brand. In 2010, Renault agreed a global cooperation partnership with Daimler, covering small cars and light commercial vehicles. Since then though, like all mass-market auto manufacturers, and especially those over-exposed to the struggling European market, Renault suffered steep falls in sales, before finally scraping a recovery in 2014. It further bolstered its footprint by taking control of another Japanese manufacturer, Mitsubishi Motors, in 2015. Yet much of that progress was threatened in 2019 after Japanese authorities arrested Carlos Ghosn, architect of Renault's expansion and its alliance with Nissan, on charges of financial misconduct. With Ghosn in jail awaiting trial, Renault too was forced to jettison its charismatic leader. In the following months, the attempts to rebuild its badly fractured relationship with Nissan cost the job of Ghosn's immediate successor Thierry Bolloré as well as an alternative alliance with Fiat Chrysler (who agreed to merge with rival PSA instead). Group CFO Clotilde Delbos is now interim CEO and faces the challenge of restoring balance to a badly shaken group. Revenues for 2018 were €57.4bn, with net income of €3.45bn. The investment in Nissan contributed almost half of profits. The group sold a combined total of 3.75m vehicles in 2019, down slightly on the year before. It remains heavily dependent on Europe in general and France in particular. Its only presence in North America is via Nissan, and so far its profile in China - through a joint venture with Dongfeng Motors - remains low. It is most active there with light commercial vehicles under the Jinbei and Huasong brands. In 2019, the core Renault brand sold a total of 1.94m passenger cars worldwide and 412k light commercial vans. Dacia contributed a further 691k passenger cars and 46k LCVs, Lada 413k cars and vans and Renault Samsung 79k. France is the group's biggest market by far, accounting for almost two-thirds of revenues, and a total of 699k vehicles sold. Renault is the best-selling brand in the domestic market, though rival PSA's combined volumes are higher. The next biggest markets by volumes are Russia (509k), Germany (247k) and Brazil (239k).
Capsule checked 17th January 2020
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Historical profile information for Renault
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Dec 2019: Renault's new marketing director Xavier Martinet has wasted little time since stepping up to that role two weeks ago. The group today unveiled a new marketing venture that will take charge of all creative and media for Renault and sister brand Dacia across Europe. Some 200 personnel from Renault, creative network Publicis and Omnicom's OMD media agency will join forces under the banner of new entity Voila. "This new agile collaboration model responds to the evolution of Groupe Renault's global marketing strategy to drive a transformation from mass marketing to individualized marketing," said the group. "This embodies the ambition to reshape the entire Groupe Renault marketing chain around the world, putting the customer at the center of the debate and with a constant concern for agility and efficiency, creative and media relevance."
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Dec 2019: In another sudden change to Renault's senior management team, the group announced the abrupt departure of EVP global marketing Francois Renard after only a year in his role. He is replaced by Xavier Martinet, previously head of Renault's Italian subsidiary. Martinent becomes SVP global marketing.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Oct 2019: The worsening state of relations between Renault and alliance partner Nissan was highlighted by the abrupt dismissal of the French company's CEO Thierry Bolloré after less than a year in that role. No specific reason was given. He was clearly shocked by the board's decision, telling Les Echos newspaper that "the brutality and the totally unexpected character of what is happening are stupefying. Operationally, I do not see where the fault is." Yet before his elevation to the top job, Bolloré was deputy to ousted Renault and Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn; his sudden removal by the Renault board is perceived to be an attempt to appease Nissan by cutting another link to the previous administration. Yet, the latest move has also been seen by some observers as a possible step towards reaching an amicable dissolution of the Renault-Nissan relationship in favour of a resurrected realignment with Fiat Chrysler. CFO Clotilde Delbos takes over as interim CEO until a fulltime replacement can be appointed.
Adbrands Social Media 4th Jul 2019: "Policeman / Windscreen / Bear". Don't be tempted to fit cheap car parts; they'll end up costing you in other ways. That's the message of this entertaining ad series from Publicis Conseil for Renault Genuine Parts. Each of the gags is delivered deliciously dry; it's a style of American humour we don't often see in French ads, but it works brilliantly.
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Jun 2019: That didn't take long: Fiat Chrysler's bold plan for a merger with Renault collapsed after only a few days, apparently as a result of interference by the French government, which is Renault's most influential shareholder, as well as resistance from the carmaker's Japanese partner Nissan. The state and Nissan each hold a 15% equity position in Renault. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire instructed Renault to slow negotiations with FCA in order to avoid disrupting the existing alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi, which is deemed the greater priority, despite evidence of continuing tensions. With Renault's hands apparently tied, Fiat Chrysler's chairman John Elkann abruptly withdrew his merger offer. A person close to Fiat Chrysler told the Wall Street Journal, "The French state has been intrusive in the extreme. They have sought the final word on every issue and this has created a situation of uncertainty that finally became intolerable."
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