It’s the topic of the year in the automotive industry! Should we change the industrial model? In a context of very strong acceleration of electrification, manufacturers are forced to rethink their model. It was the Volkswagen group that set the tone at the start of the year, spectacularly adopting the Tesla model: vertical integration of the value chain, from charging stations to software. The German group has put 35 billion euros on the table to become the leader in electromobility. This vertical integration is dictated by the need to reposition itself on the value chain while the electric car promises to be less profitable and more competitive.
The Tesla model, the new market gold standard
Consequently, investors no longer swear by this Teslaization of the automobile. And manufacturers who make the opposite choice are immediately penalized on the stock market. Renault’s e-Ways plan, announced last July, suffered this disastrous sentence since the title of the French group plunged to reach its lowest level of the year, only cushioned by better than expected half-year results. Renault thus plans to reach 90% of 100% electric cars in 2030 only, where other groups are aiming for a more anticipated switchover.
But at Renault, the word of the markets is not gospel. During an exchange with journalists at the Munich motor show, Luca de Meo preferred to take a step back from the ambient climate. “There is a kind of one-upmanship in the announcements of each other,” he observed.
He judged that the announced capacity of electric battery gigafactories in Europe was oversized compared to the most optimistic growth forecasts for the electric car market.
“We want to do things that we know how to do, it is no longer a question of doing as before by aiming for the stars only to arrive on the Moon”, he told the French press.
Megane E-Tech to recapture the market
According to him, Renault is deeply rooted in the value chain of electric mobility. “We are perfectly positioned on each piece,” he hammered. Renault has just launched a Megane ETech. Almost the first 100% electric car for many years at the diamond, where competitors have multiplied the models. Renault was widely criticized for having lost part of its leadership despite having been selling Zoé for almost ten years now.
But precisely, Renault keeps repeating that having been the leading seller of electric cars in Europe for so long has enabled the group to build an ecosystem of expertise, feedback from the field, and to master technologies.
On the software part, for example, Renault considers that it has a head start in battery power management. For analysts, this point is often considered one of the strengths of Tesla, which accompanies its rolling stock with remote software updates to go even further in this energy optimization. A point is extremely appreciated by customers.
Luca de Meo acknowledged that the software will not be a source of profit but will bring differentiation to sell cars. “It’s not with the software that Apple makes the most money, but it needs it to sell its smartphones from which it makes a lot of profit, ”he compared.
The agreement with Google, assumed
Luca de Meo will specify in the coming months the plan of attack of Software Republique, the program which must lead the automotive group towards an ambitious software ecosystem. “We believe more in a horizontal model. I prefer to ally myself with Thales, which makes software for fighter jets, rather than starting alone from a blank sheet,” he said.
On content, Luca de Meo also assumes agreements with Google which preempt software synchronization with smartphones running on Android. According to him, Google is only interested in infotainmentwhere Renault is interested in data which should allow it to work on the driving experience and life on board.