Arriving last July in the middle of a model cycle, de Meo will have to wait several years for any radical product changes to take effect. But he said in an interview with Automotive News Europe in November that he had thoroughly overhauled product planning in a swift, six-week review, including killing or revising six or eight projects.
One immediate change is the introduction this year of a full-hybrid version of the Captur small SUV, which under Ghosn and his brief successor Thierry Bollore (now CEO of Jaguar Land Rover) was scheduled only to have a plug-in hybrid powertrain. That could help bring higher transaction prices for the Captur, as Renault’s second most popular model.
De Meo also will move Renault away from a reliance on lower-margin small cars such as the Clio, the group’s best-seller, toward the compact segment, where the Megane has languished. The original Megane (and Scenic variant) were a key to reviving Renault in the 1990s – when de Meo started his first stint at Renault -- and he has turned to that heritage with a near-production compact EV concept called the Megane eVision.
That vehicle will go into production by the start of 2022. It may be joined by other historically minded EVs, according to recent reports, including new versions of best-sellers such as the Renault 4 and Renault 5.
Other new products that could be announced as early as Thursday include a new compact SUV for budget brand Dacia and several EVs for underutilized sports car brand Alpine.
A number of models could be on the chopping block, too, as part of an effort to streamline Renault lineups, including the Espace minivan, Scenic/Grand Scenic minivans, and potentially the Talisman midsize sedan. None of those models have full- or plug-in hybrid options.