There are two ways of looking at Luca de Meo’s job as the new boss of Renault. Either this is the opportunity of a lifetime for him or he has been landed with an impossible task made far more difficult by the pandemic and European emissions regulations. A good example of the difficulties facing Renault is the fate of the classic European hatchback. Even in the shutdown-stricken first half of this year, Volkswagen sold around 88,000 Golf Mk7s and Mk8s.
Ford shifted 43,100 Focuses, but the Mégane attracted just 17,900 sales, down 56% on the same period last year. Although de Meo says he wants the C-segment at Renault’s core, the Mégane is trickier to replace than the Captur and Clio, both of which have a strong brand image and sales. If Renault is to deliver a number of exceptional new C-segment products, much of the responsibility will be down to Renault’s design studio. Perhaps that’s why Seat’s design chief, Alejandro Mesonero- Romanos, has followed de Meo to Renault. He successfully polished Seat design over nine years. He might now have just two years to create gamechanging Renault models.