Renault = Clean cars ?

Apparently Renault is betting the company on electric cars. This could be the ballsiest and smartest strategic move I have heard of in a long time.

The auto industry is in a big crisis, these companies are huge, they employ a lot of people directly and much more indirectly… but they generate very small profits. Just consider that if somebody wanted to buy the Ford Motor Company (the 3rd largest in the world) they would need about 25 billion $. If someone wanted to buy Google they would need about 150 billion $.

The companies that are doing well are extremely well positionned, which means they stand for something very specific: Toyota means ‘affordable reliability’, BMW means ‘driving pleasure’, Mercedes means ‘prestige’, Porsche means ‘sports car’.

This is the basics of marketing, that the brands stands for and owns something unique and relevant.

The problem is that there are not many meaningful and distinctive benefits left, and this is why Ford, Renault, Peugeot, Fiat and GM more than any others are all struggling to be relevant. But there’s a new word that is becoming increasingly important these days… and no one owns it yet…

Because of high oil prices and the fact that cars are highly highly polluting machines, most car manufacturers are investing a lot in alternative energy cars. The most successful by far are hybrid cars.

The problem is that ‘hybrid’ is not such a clean word to own, it’s not very choiceful, it’s a bit of oil and a bit of electric…

So if electric or clean is the word of the future, one has to make choices, no half-baked solutions. Renault is apparently taking this road. It is very risky because it depends on oil prices remaining high, on the continuity of Government subsidies and particularly on consumers changing the way they use their car… but if that happens Renault could become the new Toyota.

You have to be able to sum up your brand in one meaningful and relevant word to do good marketing.

Some jobs at Renault.

An article in the Economist about Renault’s big bet on electric cars.

More on the Kangoo ZE – zero emission and no noise – on sale in 2011.


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5 Responses to “Renault = Clean cars ?”

  1. Lapping the Web: News from around the Web | Auto News, Recalls and Car Blog - DriverSide Says:

    […] tricycles and modern adaptations of LeCar not withstanding, alternative fuel vehicles are more exciting than ever, though apparently […]

  2. Henry Says:

    the new push for clean cars from renault is very interesting. lets hope they can pioneer green cars like they did hot hatches. also i think the new renault twizy concept ( looks like the brand is heading in the right direction.

  3. Cars Ireland Says:

    I think they are one step ahead of their competitors having had a look at the Zoe Z.E. & Fluence Z.E. these are pretty cool cars

  4. beach Says:

    Yes Marketing word and quality is of great value.
    Taste and culture are equally valuable.
    The market target for Renault car will determine its success in certain areas. American culture still depend largely on comfort. Others may depend on other things.

    My opinion is that, Renault would have to adapt to cultural tastes.
    Maybe rugged and sporty Jeeps for America.

  5. Luxury Pleasure Says:

    When it comes to attractive luxurious cars, the Europeans keep the leadership, as a result of such mythical brands as Ferrari, Bentley, Koenigsegg, and Lamborghini. Experience high quality, love life.

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