While a rather formidable player in the global automotive landscape, most American’s are not likely familiar with Groupe Renault. The French automaker is actually a very strong player in parts of the world that North American automakers have generally struggled in thanks to their portfolio of five brands. In light of today’s news that Fiat Chrysler is proposing a merger with this French automaker, here’s some details about Renault.
Groupe Renault’s primary brand is its namesake, Renault. The French brand has been around since 1899, making it one of the oldest automotive brands in the world. Today, the Renault brand lineup consists of mainstream car-heavy lineup with fairly outlandish designs, along with a fairly large portfolio of commercial vans.
In the last few years Renault has really laid claim to becoming a leader in electrification. The brand captured nearly 23 percent of the battery-electric vehicle market in Europe in 2018, making it the world’s largest seller of EVs.
In 1999 Renault acquired Romanian car brand Dacia. The Dacia brand, still headquartered in Romania, is more of an access brand for central and eastern Europe. While the majority of Dacia’s sales are in Europe, Groupe Renault does produce two Dacia models at a Moroccan assembly plant for sale in northern Africa as well.
Groupe Renault also owns the Alpine racing brand. This car brand was acquired by Renault in 1973 and is primarily focused on period release of street cars. Most recently Alpine’s models have been based on the Nissan GT-R platform, thanks to Renault’s alliance with Nissan.
In South Korea Groupe Renault has a sizable presence thanks to its Renault Samsung brand. Renault owns 80 percent of Renault Samsung and most of the South Korean brand’s models are based on Renault vehicles. Renault Samsung currently has about nine vehicles within its product portfolio, ranging from small cars to SUVs and electric vehicles. The brand has a substantial share of the South Korean electric vehicle market.
Lastly, the Russian brand Lada is under the Groupe Renault portfolio. Renault owns Lada through Russian company AutoVAZ. The Lada brand has substantial market share in Russia (about 27 percent) with its six model lineup that focuses on accessibility. Ironically, Lada originally had a partnership with Fiat prior to becoming part of Groupe Renault.
Chinese Joint Ventures
Groupe Renault was arguably late to arrive to the Chinese auto market. In 2013 the company entered into a joint venture agreement with Dongfeng, forming Dongfeng Renault. Through Dongfeng Renault, Renault branded vehicles are now produced and sold in China.
More recently, Renault entered into another joint venture with Chinese automaker Brilliance in December 2017. Through this joint venture Renault owns 49 percent of the Shineray, Huasong, and Jinbei brands. There are plans for Renault and Brilliance to launch an additional new brand in China later this year.
In total Groupe Renault aims to sell 550,000 vehicles annually in China by year 2022.
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The above chart depicts geographic areas in which Groupe Renault is a strong player. In total the company sold 3,884,295 vehicles globally in 2018, an increase of 3.2 percent versus 2017. Fiat Chrysler makes the argument that Groupe Renault is strong in geographic areas where FCA is not strong, which does seem to be the case given FCA is strongest in North America, where Groupe Renault has no presence.