Remi Deconinck (left), senior corporate vice president of product planning for Renault, doesn't much like consumer clinics. But they can be useful tools. Deconinck was interviewed by Automotive News Europe's Georg Auer.
Looking at the new Laguna, you can see the relationship to the future Avantime luxury coupe in many of its lines. Is this the direction you are taking for your future products?
We had in the past an image of building basically mass-produced, small and even tinny cars. We want to move on. The big question is, are we able - and I think we are - to create and innovate in every car category.
When we held clinics for the Avantime, we got positive response from people who had been driving high-line cars. They are ready to have a new proposal, something original, something different.
Do you believe in clinics?
No, I don't believe in clinics. You can't rely on them. But I believe clinics are useful when we are targeting certain people. For example, we used clinics for the Twingo. Eighty percent of the people said, 'We hate that car,' but 20 percent were in love with it.
How far ahead do you plan your products?
The actual planning spans about 10 years. Today you have to build cars that are universally useful, distinctive and versatile. In every range, in every segment, we are trying to push innovation and translate it into an expressive design.