By Gilles Guillaume
PARIS (Reuters) – Fully electric and hybrid vehicles in 2022 have almost doubled as a percentage of the Renault brand’s European sales over the last two years, an executive said ahead of the Paris Motor Show.
“In Europe, we will be at 40% this year,” Fabrice Cambolive, the brand’s chief operating officer, told reporters during a pre-show event organized in Aubervilliers (Seine-St-Denis), adding that the brand is well positioned to managed its planned shift to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030.
In 2021, electrified models accounted for around a quarter of the Renault brand’s European sales and around a third in the first half of 2022. Overtaken by newcomers like Tesla and new Chinese carmakers, or by legacy heavyweights like Volkswagen and Stellantis, Renault has pinned its electric hopes on its new M gane and two small iconic models – a new Renault 5 and a new Renault 4, a small SUV that is a throwback to its 4L. It will unveil them at the Paris Motor Show.
At an investor day scheduled for Nov. 8, the Renault group is due to outline its strategy to create a unit focused on electrification and software, the auto industry’s main focus. A separate unit will specialize in its legacy business making internal combustion engine cars.
Renault’s Cambolive said that industry wide in Europe, orders for new vehicles have fallen over the last few months because of rising inflation.
“For several months, we have observed a drop in orders on a European scale of around 20%”, he said.
Despite the decline, European new vehicle registrations in 2022 should be “more or less” flat versus 2021, unless ongoing supply chain problems – in particular a global semiconductor chip shortage – further disrupt production, Cambolive added.
This year’s Paris Motor Show is the first since 2018, when it attracted more than a million visitors. The 2020 show was canceled because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting By Gilles Guillaume in Paris; Writing By Nick Carey; Editing by David Gregorio)