ASSUMING THE engineering is right, Renault's idea of making its Scenic compact minivan a world car could pay instant dividends.
The biggest dividend may not be money. It may be learning the relationship between risk and reward. Under French national control, Renault was a conservative company often managed by politics rather than business imperatives. The marketplace is overrun with companies that are driven by the search for profit, not social order. Renault needs to learn to succeed in this environment.
The Scenic is the right size for the middle of the European market. In emerging markets, it will be a larger, luxury product.
To succeed as a product, the Scenic will need to have a touch of luxury, a durable suspension and an engine that can survive bad fuel. To succeed as a business, Renault needs to support its sales with a quality distribution, parts and service network. And if Renault does that, it will have the architecture in place for international growth.