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Renault expects ICEs, EVs to best sell side-by-side for decade

GENEVA — The Renault brand will probably continue to offer internal-combustion vehicles alongside a separate lineup of full-electric cars for the next 10 years, CEO Fabrice Cambolive said.

Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo in early 2022 said that the Renault brand would be selling only EVs in Europe by 2030 — ahead of the EU’s zero-emission mandate in 2035 — but he has also said that the pledge is dependent on market conditions. Demand for EVs in Europe remains high, but the rate of adoption has slowed in recent months, raising questions about the willingness of consumers to continue to pay higher prices for battery-powered vehicles.

Renault is building out its lineup to have full-electric offerings in every segment, with the Renault 5 small car its latest addition. It will complement the petrol-powered Clio, Europe’s No. 2-selling small cars in 2023.

“Our strategy is to have ‘two legs’ in every segment — an ICE [internal-combustion engine] lineup with hybrid technology and a full-electric vehicle,” Cambolive told Automotive News Europe at the auto show here on Monday.

Renault’s main rivals in Europe are taking different approaches to the EV transition. Stellantis brands such as Citroen, Opel and Peugeot offer combustion and electric drivetrains on the same model, while VW Group has separate electric and combustion platforms for each segment.

Cambolive said Renault’s approach gives it plenty of flexibility to adapt to market conditions.

“For me the question is not [going EV-only in] 2030 — we will follow the trends with two very competitive offers in our lineup, on both legs,” he said. “This strategy could work for the next 10 years.”