As head of product planning at the Renault Group since October 2014, Bruno Ancelin has to carefully orchestrate how the company's models will be allocated in more than 100 global markets. Ancelin said one of the best recent moves Renault made was to bet on subcompact sales rising in Russia rather than following rivals into the compact sector. The 35-year Renault veteran explained why subcompacts are winning customers around the world in an interview with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Peter Sigal.
You have just finished a very successful product cycle at Renault with the European introduction of the Koleos and Alaskan. What have you learned from that?
In the automotive industry, you are never finished. What we completed is the deployment of the CMF [Common Module Family] platform that was developed with Nissan for the renewal of the C- and D-segments [compact and midsize segments] at Renault.
When are you introducing the CMF-B platform for small cars like the Clio?
We are renewing the lineup in the usual way, and CMF-B is part of the next product introductions.
Will you use the CMF-B platform for Lada vehicles?
We are thinking about that. We would like to standardize worldwide. The B segment is really the heart of the market for us. Just to give you an example, who knew that sales of the fourth-generation Clio would be continuing to grow five years after we launched it in 2012? We will continue to have big cars, big SUVs and executive cars. But in terms of volumes, all the markets in the world are converging with the B segment. Why? Because of the price and because of CO2 emissions requirements. In the markets where we are, the B segment is growing, whether it is high spec like in Europe, or low spec as in Russia. As an example, I was head of the Eurasia region for Renault and was based in Moscow for four years. When Russian buyers coming from very old Moskvitches or Ladas wanted to access the technology of European cars, they went directly to the B segment. The A segment is too small, and the C segment is too expensive for them. Many of our competitors bet on C-segment cars, and it was a big mistake. We have done well in Russia because we believed in the future of the B segment.