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Hard driving maneuvers: Mission Renault: How the interim boss wants to steer the car manufacturer out of the crisis | message


by Stephan Bauer, Euro am Sonntag

Clotilde Delbos is practically the vanguard. Only at the beginning of July does Renault’s interim boss receive reinforcements: Ex-Seat board member Luca de Meo will then steer the French car manufacturer with Delbos as co-pilot. That’s how long Europe’s currently most powerful car manager has to steer the company through the crisis on her own – and start the major restructuring.

The mission: a 180-degree turn at full speed. “We no longer want world domination. We face reality and build a profitable company,” says the 52-year-old, who as CFO once had to support ex-boss Carlos Ghosn’s ambitious plans. Ghosn is history. And if there were no state-guaranteed bank loans of over five billion euros, Renault would also be in serious imbalance. In the first quarter, almost six of the approximately 15 billion euros in cash reserves burned. Sales dropped by a quarter, sales by 20 percent. And Corona is not everything: As early as 2019, the factories were chronically underemployed. In three-shift operation, the load was just 60 percent.

The new management must regain trust. That is why Delbo’s investors not only explain the tough austerity program in detail. It also clarifies that Ghosn’s maxim of volume no longer applies. In future, Renault will say: profitability before mass. The number of parts and the variety of models are expected to decrease, and fixed costs will shrink by at least two billion euros by 2022. Delbos plans to utilize fewer factories far more in the future. 15,000 jobs are lost, 4,500 in France alone.

Off to partner therapy

The alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi must also be reanimated. The alliance was almost broken up: Nissan managers in particular had suspected Ghosn of planning to merge with French dominance. The conflict culminated in allegations of infidelity and the arrest of the ex-boss. In future, clear agreements will regulate who is in charge of where. The French should therefore be the leader in smaller SUVs from 2022, after which the technology will appear in a Nissan dress.

Technical skills and regional leadership are also distributed. Nissan looks after autonomous driving as well as North America, Japan and China, Renault around Europe, Russia and South America. Mitsubishi is targeting Southeast Asia. The big goal: After 2025 there will be a total of four technology platforms instead of the current 13 in the entire alliance, all of which will be produced in large quantities. Development costs decrease, profitability increases.

So far the plan. It is highly complex, the implementation harbors many pitfalls. But the cost pressure is also huge for the Japanese – and that is a strong driver. Renault also has a good market position in e-mobility in Europe. New hybrid models such as the new Clio, which is coming in July, are expected benefit from increased government buying incentives.

The stock shot up after the plans were announced. Speculative investors buy on weaker days.



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