Renault confirms it’s struggling with 2020 sales report

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Words: Matthew Hansen
22 Feb 2021

While Nissan and Mitsubishi have made headlines all over the world over the last few years with regards to their financial situations, Renault — the third firm in the Nissan-Mitsubishi-Renault alliance — hasn’t been so under the spotlight. Until now that is.

It was confirmed on Friday that Renault recorded record losses in 2020, namely a net loss of €8billion ($13.2million). This is worse than the €7.8billion deficit that analysts had forecast for the French manufacturer.

Most of the losses were down to the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus’ strong-hold on Europe for much of the first half of 2020 hurt Renault more than most, given that Europe is its largest market. It did recover somewhat later in the year, generating a 3.5 per cent operating margin and “positive operational automotive free cash flow”.

“After a first half impacted by the Covid-19, [Renault] has significantly turned around its performance in the second half. This result is the fruit of all employees’ efforts, the successful acceleration on our fixed cost cutting plan and pricing policy improvement,” Renault CEO Luca de Meo said in a statement last week.

“The priority is profitability and cash generation, as announced during our strategic plan ‘Renaulution’. 2021 is set to be difficult given the unknowns regarding the health crisis as well as electronic components supply shortages. We will face these challenges collectively, keeping the momentum towards recovery we’ve been successfully engaged in since last summer.”

De Meo is a relatively recent addition to Renault’s executive team, and has brought with him some big ideas. The first of these started to unfold last year in the form of the striking ‘Renault 5 Prototype’ — a concept modeled on the manufacturer’s illustrious Renault 5 hatchback.

The idea is that the firm’s next generation of electric cars will be modeled on some of its most iconic nameplates of the past, helping rekindle nostalgia around the marque while also catering towards the changing automotive landscape and the push for electrification.

By 2025 it will have launched seven new electric cars, with sports car sub-brand Alpine also set to join in the electrified fun. The electric car age may come at just the right time for Renault and its alliance partners.

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