Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi: Ampere as a new electric car unit

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi: Ampere as a new electric car unit

Renault plans its future. And it is largely electric: the French had already announced in February 2022 that the main brand in Europe only wanted to offer electric cars from 2030. As it became known shortly after, the group was also integrating its electric and software activities into its division. This layer is called amps; was officially launched on November 1, 2023. The goal is ambitious: with “affordable designs including modern software technology for a wide range of customers,” Ampere wants to be the leader of the European electric vehicle market.

Luca de Meo, CEO of the entire group, heads the new division. Two other Renault Group executives, Josep Maria Recasens (COO) and Vincent Piquet (CFO), will now hold the highest positions at Ampere. Recasens leads the operational business and Piquet is responsible for all financial matters. Along with Luc Julia there is also the “Chief AI Officer”, i.e. the head of the area of ​​artificial intelligence. A total of around 11,000 people are expected to work for Ampere, including 35 percent engineers. Ampere operates a total of eleven locations in France, including four factories: the ElectriCity production network with three locations in Douai, Maubiege and Ruitz as well as Cléon factory.

Ampere IPO cancelled

The IPO should happen very quickly; This should happen as early as the first half of 2024. But Ampere is now suspending this plan. “Groupe Renault considers that the current state of the stock market is not sufficient to fully implement the IPO process in the interests of Groupe Renault, its shareholders and Ampere,” it said in an official statement. “Today we have made a logical decision,” added de Meo in a statement. The company is not saying when the IPO will be rescheduled.

However, Renault and Ampere want to continue pursuing their economic goals undeterred. The parent company had already mentioned some important data last year: Ampere is expected to achieve a rapid and stable sales growth of 30 percent annually by 2030. From this point on, the company also plans to have a double-digit volume. Since 80 percent of all investments have already been made, breaking even should be reached by 2025.

In this way, significant savings should be achieved in the development and production of new models. De Meo aims to “reduce costs by 40 percent per Ampere in the next generation of vehicles,” which is scheduled to enter the market from 2027. As part of this, the company wants to reduce the variety of parts by around 30 percent and achieve production times of maximum hours ten per car. According to Ampere, the first results of the steps to achieve this are already visible in the new electric models Renault 5 (2024; see the video after the first paragraph), Renault 4 (2025; see the video below), Scenic, Twingo (see image display ) and two other electrical arrays. This means that cars designed and produced by the new company will not come to the market under the Ampere brand name, but with the Renault logo.

Nissan and Mitsubishi also on board

And in the future maybe also like Nissan and Mitsubishi, because along with Renault, other manufacturers of the group also participate in the Ampere division, which also includes the mobility brand Inspire and the autonomous driving area. Nissan becomes a strategic partner and takes up to 15 percent of the shares. Mitsubishi recently announced at the Japan Mobility Expo 2023 in Tokyo that it will invest up to 200 million euros in Ampere.

Ampere’s combustion and hybrid partner is a joint venture called Aurobay. In March 2023, Renault bought into this company, which was previously run by Volvo’s Chinese parent Geely, as a 50 percent shareholder. In the future, the international oil company Saudi Aramco is also expected to acquire a stake in Aurobay. All brands in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance that offer models of combustion engines should be customers of the resulting drives.

Nissan is now more independent

To implement the new strategy including the division, a deep restructuring is necessary within the alliance between Renault and Nissan, in which Mitsubishi is also involved. At the end of January 2023, the management levels of all the first mentioned car manufacturers had already announced how the mergers would be organized in the future. In short: Nissan gets most of its freedom back.

Renault previously had a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan; on the contrary, it was only 15 percent. This would be fine in time: Renault had then handed over 28.4 percent of its Nissan shares to a French trustee, whose voting rights had been removed. The bonds can be sold “if this makes economic sense for the Renault Group,” it said in a statement. Renault Group benefited from dividends and gains from share sales. However, there was no obligation to sell the shares within a specified period.

15 instead of 43.4 percent of the shares

In the future, each will have a 15 percent stake in the other company, creating a partnership on equal terms. The new construction will initially be used for 15 years and includes a minority restriction and a standstill agreement. Nissan also has the option to remove previously appointed Renault directors from its leadership if the Japanese wish to do so. However, both partners have the right to send two representatives to the board of directors of the other manufacturer.

Within their multi-layered partnership, the partners want to take care of “high-value operational projects” that are mainly focused on Latin America, India and Europe. The projects planned for Europe mainly include common platforms, mainly for electric vehicles in segments B and C from 2026. Some of these models will have an 800-volt architecture and will be produced mainly in factories operated by Renault. It is also clear that the next-generation Mitsubishi ASX and Colt will also use the CMF-B platform of the Renault-Nissan alliance and will once again serve as the flagships of the Captur and Clio.

Close integration on multiple levels

Ampere’s operations occupy a small position in its products in some emerging markets. In South America, the main focus is on the new half-ton and one-ton pick-ups as well as the new electric model in the A segment, which should also be beneficial for India. Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi are also planning new SUV series here.

But the partners also plan to integrate more closely than the model range. For example with the sales network: In the future there are likely to be many more dealers offering Renault and Nissan and Mitsubishi models. The brands also want to build a shared charging network, also called ElectriCity, which includes mainly dealer locations. There will also be closer cooperation in the future when it comes to recycling electric car batteries and production waste.

A troubled union

The alliance between Renault and Nissan was established in 1999 when Louis Schweitzer was the CEO of the French company. In 2001, Schweitzer sent Carlos Ghosn to Nissan, which reformed the then Japanese manufacturer with drastic measures. Four years later, Ghosn became Schweitzer’s successor as head of the Renault Group. This group of stars and especially the person of Ghosn were always a thorn in the side of Nissan. The growing tension between Allianz partners over the years culminated in the arrest of the good manager in Japan in 2018 (main charge: embezzlement of company funds) and his escape to Lebanon in December 2019.

The French have outlined what new products will be introduced by Renault in their “Renaulution” strategy. In the photo gallery we present the models that the group will bring to the market in the medium and long term.

Ab 2025.Not before 2040.

Renault needs more money for its electrification plans and is struggling with weak business with conventional combustion engines. Division should bring solutions. As a result, the group is also restructuring its alliance with Nissan and, as the Japanese have long demanded, reduce its ownership in the Asian manufacturer. In turn, he – like Mitsubishi – is involved in the new Ampere electric car division, which was officially launched in November 2023 and should be announced to the public shortly after. But this project is now on hold due to bad market conditions.