PARIS -- Renault CEO Luca de Meo is turning to the compact SUV segment to boost the group's performance outside European markets, with a model for the Dacia, Lada and Renault brands that could sell more than 1 million units annually.
The three brands will each have their own distinct versions that will share "85 percent" of components, de Meo told Automotive News Europe in an interview. The SUV will be built on an extended version of the Renault-Nissan Alliance CMF-B platform, which is normally used for small cars like the Renault Clio or Dacia Sandero.
The Dacia version, called the Bigster, will be aimed at rural residents in eastern and western Europe, he said. A concept version was shown Jan. 14 at the presentation of his Renaulution turnaround plan for the struggling automaker.
A centerpiece of de Meo's plan is to reduce reliance on small cars, moving the group's “center of gravity” to the compact segments, which will result in higher prices and profit margins. The Bigster will be the first compact Dacia vehicle; its two best-selling models, the Duster SUV and Sandero hatchback, are both small cars.
Under de Meo, Renault Group will combine the Lada and Dacia brands into a single business unit that will share platforms and development costs.