CEO Luca de Meo often says his mission at Renault Group is to create "value over volume" at the automaker, which had chased ambitious sales targets around the world under longtime CEO Carlos Ghosn.
That mission is now at least partly complete.
The automaker achieved a record net pricing increase in the first half at 8.7 percent, and 11.5 percent in the second quarter alone, compared with the first quarter of 2019, as measured by impact on revenue.
Pricing contributed 1.36 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to Renault Group's 4.46 billion-euro increase in automotive revenue, the largest "bucket" outside of market growth due to improving economic conditions. A similar metric, product mix, contributed 453 million euros.
There are other signs of progress at Renault, which lost a record 8 billion euros in the first half of 2020 (much of it due to losses at Nissan and associated companies), including cutting fixed costs by 1.8 billion euros since 2019, in engineering, production and selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A).
But for a product and marketing specialist such as de Meo, who brought the reborn Fiat 500 to market at the Italian brand and later gave VW's Spanish brand Seat a youthful makeover, pricing is a cornerstone of both profits and brand image.
"Pricing is the brightest spot," deputy CEO and CFO Clotilde Delbos said. "This is the fruit of the commercial policies of our Renaulution plan."
Other automakers are following a similar recipe. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares focused on reaching and exceeding pricing benchmarks at the Peugeot and Opel/Vauxhall brands, for example; and Renault's alliance partner Nissan is hoping do the same.
In fact, Renault is using Peugeot for its pricing benchmark, de Meo said.