Diesel is not part of Renault's future India strategy, says CEO Bollore

Renault CEO Thierry Bollore
Thierry Bollore, the 56-year-old chief executive officer of French automobile major Renault, who took charge after the arrest of Carlos Ghosn last year, was in India for the launch of its newest model Triber. During a media interaction, Bollore spoke to Arindam Majumder about the global auto sector, the firm’s strategy in India, and its relationship with partner Nissan. Edited excerpts:

In the past one year the market has gone through a massive slowdown. How do you see Renault’s prospects in this market?

First, it’s only not the Indian market that is going through a slowdown — this is visible across the world. The Indian market is one of the biggest for Renault. We are confident that we will be able to double the size of our business here by 2022. It’s not that the global situation will prevent growth here.

We have made some mistakes. But we have also been able to learn from those mistakes.  Kwid was a key element of our success here. Triber, the new model, will reinforce that. We have plenty of ideas for export from India.

As one of the largest automakers in the world what is your view on diesel vehicles?  India’s largest player Maruti has decided to phase out diesel…

Diesel is naturally decreasing very fast in terms of proportion.

The drop has been more significant after 2015 and today there is clear regulatory approach which says diesel is not welcome. The regulations are being designed to push electrical vehicles (EVs). We have already limited the production of diesel in Europe.

The fact that the Triber is a pe­trol-only vehicle is an indica­t­ion of the company’s future a­p­proach for the Indian market.

The government is talking about migrating to a 100 per cent EV platform by 2030. Do you find that a practical timeline? Also, is local manufacturing of EVs on your radar?

In many countries across the world, we have experienced similar propositions from the authorities. Such proposals have come even from big cities. What is key for us is our experience in that sphere.

As you know, we are the EV leader in Europe. We know how important the ecosystem is. It is also different to sell an EV. It has to be designed in a way that customers find it easy to charge — when they are home or outside. This ecosystem is as important as the vehicle itself. That’s why our strategy should embed the ecosystem as a value proposition. I can’t judge if 2030 is short enough, because it depends on the respective country’s ability to prepare itself. This is the trend. So we are not surprised. I would say that we are pioneers.

Will you make it in India?

Look, you have to be competitive. In terms of Kwid we were successful because we made that in India. So there is no reason why shouldn’t we follow the strategy for electric vehicles. If you really want to serve a massive customer base, you have to make in India.