Ampere, Luca de Mea’s bet to catch up with the Chinese in the electrical sector

LThe dominance of Chinese brands in the electrical segment is “increasing month by month around the world”, reminds a recent study by Rexecode. Thus, 8 out of 10 best-selling models on the planet come from Chinese brands.

At the wheel Renault for three years now, Luca de Meo is aware that we must act quickly. Very fast. “European producers must catch up. The Chinese and Tesla are a generation ahead. At Renault, I have to work for two generations in one. That’s why I created Ampere. To play the same way as the Chinese,” he explained during a debate at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri) on November 8, 2023.

A “pure player” in electricity, the Ampera subsidiary was created in early November 2023 with around 11,000 employees, a third of whom are engineers. It remains to attract investors. Hence the show that the marketing ace likes to do, which was dedicated to them at the Accord Arena in Paris. Ampere, in which two Alliance allies, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, have pledged to invest up to 800 million euros in total, and US semiconductor giant Qualcomm is also set to take a stake, wants to go public to raise new money for its investments.

The operation is expected in the first half of 2024, “depending on favorable market conditions”. Ampere’s valuation is estimated at between 8 and 10 billion euros, the same as Renault currently (10.5 billion as of November 15, 2023). Le Losange may also soon sell its 28.4% stake in Nissan to free up funds.

“It is also a way to reinvent the Renault brand and make it a fully electric brand in 2030 (…). It’s like in the army, you send the acrobats five kilometers ahead”, assures Luca de Meo. The CEO promises “double digit” market share and revenue growth and “faster delivery of dividends to shareholders and the group”.

Electric Twingo for less than 20,000 euros

Ampere aims for 300,000 vehicles sold in 2025 and one million in 2031, or half of what Renault sold worldwide in 2022. The subsidiary wants to achieve a turnover of 10 billion euros by 2025, compared to 46 billion for the Renault group in 2022. ., promises an annual revenue growth rate of more than 30% between 2023 and 2031 and an operating margin of more than 10% in 2030, compared to 7.6% in the first half of 2023 for Renault.

With which electric cars? Seven models by 2031, including R5 2024, R4 2025, new electric Twingo. The latter, previously marked under the code “Legend”, will be sold for less than 20,000 euros. “We will do it at that price as Dacia Spring (now made in China, editor’s note), but produced in Europe. We will do it in two years from design to sales in branches to reach the speed of Chinese manufacturers,” promises Luca de Meo. Will it be enough to prevent the arrival of the Chinese giant BYD in Europe? Answer within five years.

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