Renault’s new head of product planning, Bruno Ancelin, says that improving the brand’s pricing structure is a lot easier now that its lineup features reliable, high-quality models, which is something the French automaker once struggled to achieve. Ancelin’s first full year on the job coincides with a product offensive. In the next two years Renault will launch models such as the all-new Kadjar compact crossover, the fifth-generation Espace large minivan, which has been redesigned to look more like a crossover, and the new Megane compact, which is the automaker’s No. 2 seller in Europe. Ancelin discussed Renault’s future with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Bruce Gain.
What is Renault doing to improve its pricing in Europe?
The best way to improve pricing and brand awareness is by simply putting good products on the market. More than 10 years ago, we had a lot of problems with reliability and quality. Now I think that our quality level is one of the best in the market. If you compare the equipment that we offer and the added value customers can find in our cars, our level of pricing is intelligent. Unlike some competitors that are losing money in the European market, we are not offering discounts.
What are you doing to close the pricing gap with Volkswagen?
We want to catch up with them, but it’s impossible without offering more features and better quality with a more premium look, which is what we are trying to do with the new Espace and the new midsize sedan.
How will the new Megane, your Volkswagen Golf rival, be positioned compared with the current car?
We must establish design consistency with the predecessor because we have learned that introducing a breakthrough in design is not good for the residual value of the car. We want the new Megane to maintain an element of continuity with its predecessor because it is a core model, like the Golf is for VW.
The Kadjar will compete against the Qashqai, your partner Nissan’s best-selling vehicle in Europe. Won’t that cause problems?