Renault Boss Calls for Airbus-Like EV Alliance to Combat China

Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault, has pushed European automakers to unite together and create an Airbus-style conglomerate to produce reasonably priced electric cars that can rival Chinese imports that have been flooding into the continent.

Related: France to Stop Subsidizing Chinese EVs

Airbus was established in 2000 as a cooperative venture among European aircraft companies. European governments backed it, and the companies grouped together to compete with large American companies like Boeing.

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According to de Meo, European automakers must do something similar to compete with the growing influx of affordable electric vehicles from China, which has emerged as a powerhouse in the segment. The CEO said while speaking at the 2024 at the Geneva Motor Show:

“We need to be creative to find a solution. Partners can share the investment and reduce the costs.”

De Meo pointed to past examples of European automakers cooperating, such as on the “Type 4” platform in the ’80s, which was shared by Alfa Romeo Fiat, Lancia, and Saab. Renault and Volkswagen are currently in negotiations for the integration of the AmpR platform, which powers the Renault 5, as well as the forthcoming smaller Twingo EV, which the manufacturer intends to launch at €20,000 (about US$21,700).

Related: Stellantis CEO Calls for Increased Tariffs on Chinese Cars

According to de Meo, the challenge of such a project would be creating a European value chain that includes batteries, motors, and electronics, just as Chinese automakers have done. “The goal is to source everything in Europe at a competitive price,” de Meo said.

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He went on to say that one of the biggest challenges facing European automakers will be producing automobiles quickly. Renault, he claimed, has cut the time it takes to build its EVs from four years to three years for the Renault 5, and it will drop to two years for the Twingo. He said:

“Speed is important against the Chinese. In the past, with internal-combustion cars, you could foresee what was coming. Now we’re in an uncertain world.”

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