Renault Chief Competitive Officer Thierry Bollore expects Europe’s rebound to continue in the second half as the region’s economy improves and drivers buy new cars to replace aging vehicles. Bollore shared his outlook for Europe and Renault and discussed the automaker’s next challenges with Automotive News Europe Editor Luca Ciferri.
The European market’s strength exceeded expectations in the first half. What do you foresee for the rest of the year?
I think the growth will continue for a couple of reasons. First, despite the recent sales increase, the European market is still far from its peak levels. Secondly, the average age of the car parc continues to rise and this will fuel demand for replacements. Then there is the health of the economy, which influences everything we do. We are confident that the fundamentals are right, both for the market and for Renault.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Talisman midsize sedan is a global product. Which markets will follow its launch in France in December and the rest of Europe at the beginning of next year?
Europe is a very competitive market for the D segment [midsize] sedans. There are very strong players [here] that are the world’s leaders for this type of product. For this reason, we are focusing first on Europe. Then we will add Turkey, Russia, and other markets because we have global ambitions for this car.
Does that include Latin America and China?
Latin America is possible, most likely via exports from Douai [France, where Renault also builds the new Espace], but it is not the one of our top priorities. In China, [the Talisman’s debut] will depend on Nissan’s plans, because the Talisman is based on the [Renault-Nissan] alliance’s CMF C/D architecture.
How much commonality is there between the Talisman and Espace large minivan?
More than 30 percent in value, which is a lot considering how different these two vehicles are. We have high synergies in the platform, powertrain, electrical system and multimedia interface, but the entire body and interior are specific to each vehicle.
The Talisman replaces both the Latitude large sedan and the midsize Laguna, which was also offered as a wagon and coupe. Will you also replace these two derivatives?
The Talisman wagon will debut in September at the Frankfurt show and go on sale together with the sedan. The sub segment for midsize coupes has shrunk too much so we prefer to focus on the sedan and wagon.