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Old 02-09-2006, 09:19 AM   #1
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Default Renault says will not enter US mkt before end-2009 & Revival Plan

Renault says will not enter US mkt before end-2009 & Revival Plan


PARIS (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault (RENA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Thursday it would not enter the U.S market before the end of 2009.

Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn also told a strategy presentation that the company would remain in Formula 1 racing as long as it is a good investment.

"For the moment we will stay there, we will fight. We are staying for 2006; after that we will remain as long as it remains a good investment. We will look at it each year"

Renault boss unveils revival plan



Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn has revealed details of a three-year strategic plan that will change the way the French carmaker operates.
He said group would introduce 26 new models before 2009 in a drive to become most profitable car maker in Europe.

The Brazilian said there were no plans to reduce staff levels just now, but that purchasing costs would be cut by 14% and manufacturing costs by 12%.

"Renault is not in crisis but remains fragile," he said.

The 51-year old Mr Ghosn has been at the helm of Renault since May 2005, while still holding on to his post as chief executive of Nissan, in which Renault has a 44% holding.

The two firms came together at the start of the decade, when Renault bought a controlling stake in Japan's Nissan, which at the time was in financial difficulty.

Nissan was then successfully revived by Mr Ghosn, something he hopes to repeat at parent firm Renault.

Renault hopes to boost sales by 800,000 cars by 2009, and is aiming to launch roughly eight new cars a year between 2007 and 2009.

The group also intends to enter new sectors, including sports utility vehicles (SUV) and four-wheel-drives.

'Grow to profit'

Mr Ghosn said he aimed to make Renault "the most profitable generalist car maker in Europe".

However, the markets were not immediately convinced by his plan and Renault shares fell by more than 2% in early Paris trade.

Many analysts were wary about Mr Ghosn's plan.
"The strategy was different from what we had originally assumed," said Albrecht Denninghoff, European auto analyst at HVB Group.

"It's not a 'shrink to fit' but more of a 'grow to profit' plan. Secondly, it will take longer than anticipated.

"Investors will have to wait until 2008 and 2009 before the model offensive brings results."

He said it appeared the revamp would be harder to achieve than the one Mr Ghosn carried out at Nissan.

Renault is seen as being highly dependent on its sales of Megane family of cars in western Europe.

Referring to Renault's operating margin for 2005, Mr Ghosn said: "We cannot be satisfied with an operating margin of 3.2%" which was "inferior to the average margin of other world car makers which is 3.6%".

He added he would aim for an operating margin of 6.0% by 2009.

'Good image'

Renault's 130,000-strong workforce had feared job cuts, and, while none were announced, Mr Ghosn warned that his plan was "essential to avoid a restructuring".

"What Renault needs is growth, new products and a good brand image," he added.

At the same time as he unveiled the company revamp Mr Ghosn said net profit rose 19% in 2005.

Net profit was 3.37bn euros ($4.03bn; 2.32bn) last year, up from 2.84bn the year before. However, operating profit fell 38% to 1.32bn euros from 2.12bn.

Renault said it had suffered from rising raw material costs and a highly competitive European market.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:47 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Yardley, PA
2002 x2 Silver WRX
Sedan, White WRX Wagon


My dad bought TWO of these things IIRC while I was growing up to commute from podunksville, PA to Trenton, NJ. It was his train station car- the $50 stereo he put in it + gas was probably more valuable than the car itself, but he never got it stuck in the snow, and I'll be damned if the thing ever failed to start.

(Manual choke of course!)
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