Renault plans China growth, more electric vehicles

French automaker Renault, a leader in electric vehicles, announced Friday plans to launch five new emissions-free models by 2022 and make a major push into China.

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said he aimed for annual sales of five million vehicles by 2022 – a 44% increase on the 3.47 million units sold in 2016 – and revenues of over €70bil (RM347.4bil).

Renault, which is in an alliance with Japan’s Nissan and Mitsubishi, wants to reduce its dependence on the European market, which accounted for over half of its sales last year.

Presenting the company’s five-year strategic plan, Ghosn said he aimed to double sales outside of Europe, with a particular focus on China.

From 35,000 vehicles sold in the world’s largest car market in 2016, the carmaker has set an ambitious target of over half a million vehicles in China by 2022 – an increase of more than tenfold.

Key to its growth is its range of electric and low-cost cars.

From three currently, Renault aims to increase its range of emissions-free, battery-powered vehicles to eight in total by 2022.

“Yesterday we were pioneers (in electric cars), today we are world leaders,” Ghosn said, referring to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, adding that his goal was now to make clean-car technology profitable.

Renault, which posted profits of ‎€3.54bil (RM17.5bil) last year, also plans to expand its highly successful low-cost Dacia range, he said.

But Ghosn also acknowledged that financial analysts may need some persuading before Renault’s stock market performance matches its ambitions.

“It is obvious that the market is hesitating towards Renault,” he said.

He said Renault’s market capitalisation did not reflect its “core business” as an industry-wide emissions scandal had taken its toll and acknowledged that there is also uncertainty about the French state’s plans for its 19.7% stake in his company.

France’s previous government upped the state-held stake in Renault by 4.7% to its current level in 2015, and has since been waiting for the right time to bring it back down to 15%.

“One of our shareholders saying that they will sell 4.7% puts a certain pressure on the share price,” Ghosn said. — AFP Relaxnews