Dave Leggett | 8 February 2006
What will we get out of Renault tomorrow? How do you make Renault more profitable? Consolidate production and model-mix in France so that there are fewer French plants and lower headcount? Make upscale cars with bigger margins (admittedly sounding preferable perhaps to slugging it out in small cars - look at the underachieving Modus which has had to have its price cut)?
It won't be an easy act for Carlos Ghosn to pull off. Cutting costs in France would face political opposition. And upscale Renaults would be met with some scepticism outside of France (Espace an honourable exception, but remember Vel Satis, Avantime). Renault is not perceived as a premium brand by a long chalk. Could it make upscale cars to acceptable quality levels? Tough challenge and even if Renault succeeded, it would face ten years before consumers really believed it. Revive the Alpine sporty brand? Might go down well, but it is small beer. How much good has all that F1 sponsorship done?
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