French carmaker Renault SA is deepening the relationship it enjoys with Chinese online retailer Alibaba with a view to boosting sales in China. Renault is counting on the world’s most populous country to contribute significantly to its growth in the future. The efforts by the French carmaker will make it possible for consumers in China to buy Renault cars online via the Tmall service of Alibaba. In the coming five years Renault has set a target of increasing its sales in China five-fold.
The French carmaker views the Chinese market as a strategically important one. The market is also a top priority as spelt out in the carmaker’s mid-term plan. A target of selling 550,000 cars in the Chinese market has been set by Renault as it also aims to raise its global revenues by 40% by 2022.
The partnership between Renault and Alibaba will also see the carmaker install in its Kadjar and Koleos sports utility vehicles connectivity software which has been developed by Alibaba beginning this year. Renault is also planning to develop new models for the Chinese market some of which will be pure electric.
The deepening of the partnership between Alibaba and Renault comes in the wake of the latter denying a report indicating that its alliance with Nissan Motor was holding discussions with a view to acquiring the stake held by the French government as they moved towards a merger. According to a spokesperson for the Renault-Nissan alliance, Jonathan Adashek, the reports concerning the share transaction consisted of pure speculation.
The chairman of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Carlos Ghosn, has in the recent past been relinquishing the day-to-day control of the carmakers in order to concentrate on strengthening ties between them. Though a merger of the three is an option of ensuring that the ties among the three are preserved in the long term, this would have to get approved by the Japanese and French governments according to Ghosn.
“I don’t select my shareholders. I have the shareholders that I have — they decide to be here or to get out. I think, frankly, trying to convince them to be here, to grow or to diminish, for me, is irrelevant,” Ghosn told Bloomberg in a phone interview.
Ghosn left his chief executive post at Nissan in 2017. Last month Frenchman Thierry Bollore was named as Renault’s chief operating officer and is expected to be Ghosn’s successor. Ghosn is credited with engineering turnarounds at Nissan and Renault and recently orchestrated the acquisition of a controlling interest by Nissan in Mitsubishi Motors.