Renault is currently going through bad times. Last year it registered losses of 141 million euros. Its relationship with its partner Nissan is severely damaged since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn (former executive director of the Renault Alliance-Nissan-Mitsubishi, accused by Nissan of various tax crimes). Its Stock market value is dropping, and the crisis that is stemming from the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the company hard.
The Alliance has already agreed on a change in strategy that will prioritize the joint development of vehicles to save costs, along with a new regional distribution (Renault will be responsible for European factories and Nissan for Asian factories). Besides, both companies will be forced to contract large loans to weather the storm, as well as to cancel various projects.
Renault would have decided to discontinue the development of the new Talisman (whose second generation would be 100% electric) and the replacement of the Koleos. At the same time, the Scénic minivan will be replaced by the second generation of the Kadjar SUV, which will be available with five and seven seats. The Espace, the brand’s flagship for decades, will also not take over.
Despite everything, Ali Kassai, director of Products and Programs for the Renault Group, has confirmed that the brand will bet strongly on electrification, something that will be possible thanks to the Alliance’s new modular electrical platform CMF-EV.
Renault will initially launch an electric B-SUV in 2021, while a sister model of the Nissan Ariya will arrive in 2022. Later, an SUV from the sports brand Alpine will be added, all three being manufactured at the French plant in Douai.
Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s head of design, recently confessed in an interview that the Megane could disappear in favor of a 100% electric compact, because “we cannot afford to develop everything at the same time […] you have to put the money where there is the future of the market”.
Although Kassai has confirmed that the Megane will have a fifth-generation (which will debut a new electronic architecture associated with the CMF-C/D platform), some sources claim that it will be a simple transition model. A deep restyling of the current Megane IV that will be sold only with mild-hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid mechanics. Also, before the end of its commercial life, Renault will launch an electric compact that it will finish replacing Megane.