The War of Two Green Deals

Another kind of deal, another kind of artist

The new European Commission intends to make its Green Pact the core of its mandate and promote a "Green Deal". In the United States, the Democratic primary is placed under the same sign. However, convergence is largely bogus, as there are strong disagreements between Europeans and Americans as well as between Americans and Europeans.
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Le duo Delbos-Senard face aux agences de notation

Serving another type of client
As expected, the major rating agencies downgraded Renault's credit rating this week and posted lower price targets. Renault's management obviously prefers to play the truth speech that will mobilize the teams rather than tell the markets and analysts what they would like to hear.
 
On Tuesday, the rating agency Moody's downgraded its long-term credit rating on Renault from Baa3 to Ba1, with a stable outlook. 
 
It sanctions the group's poor performance for 2019 announced the previous week: in the red in 2019, for the first time since 2009, Renault, which saw its sales and profitability fall, did not want to be reassuring for 2020 by envisaging a further drop in its profitability. This is the reason for the downgrading of Moody's rating, which indicates :
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Renault is doing badly and counts on the Alliance. Nissan is doing very badly and doesn't talk about it.

How long have we been married for? (Behrouz MEHRI / AFP)
Prior to the release of Renault's 2019 financial results on Friday, the presentation of Nissan's results for the third quarter of the Japanese fiscal year, and thus for the first nine months, took place in Yokohama the day before.
 
Nissan executives took the opportunity to revise downwards their revenue and profit forecasts for the year, stating that these forecasts did not take into account the probable effects of the coronavirus.
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FCA 2019 Results: making short-termism attractive

Handsome is not enough
FCA's results are nothing new: North America and the two flagship brands, RAM and Jeep, are doing well.
The rest is just about surviving and is tending to deteriorate without any serious attempt to stop this. Everything has been going on since 2014 as if the roadmap were that of keeping the cash machine running in the United States and waiting for the future ally to either clean up the mess, or reinvest or offer solutions to revive brands and business in the regions that have been neglected.
 
The case of Europe is emblematic in this respect. A.-G. Verdevoye sums up the situation well in the French weekly newspaper Challenges:
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Renault and the Alliance: January 2020's resolutions

My name is Luca... I think you've seen me before (Source AFP)
After more than a year of very turbulent times, Renault and the Alliance seem to be gradually getting back on track. After the many departures to PSA, the arrival in the opposite direction of Gilles Le Borgne at the head of engineering could already be interpreted as a symbol.
 
The finalization of Luca de Meo's recruitment is another. Indeed, even if he will not officially take over the reins until July, with his appointment and the movements that are already being recorded in the management teams, we can already which path Jean-Dominique Senard intends to put the company on.
 
First of all, the idea that the automotive industry is an industry like any other (and where the invocation of a strong specificity would always be a form of resistance to change) seems to have faded away.
Apart from the fact that the case for the autonomous vehicle, which had powerfully served to accredit this thesis throughout the industry, is now arousing less and less enthusiasm and more and more doubt, at Renault, it is the painful experience of the Thierry Bolloré era that is leading to this return to fundamentals.
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Michel FREYSSENET

Date: 
31/01/2020

Décès de Michel FREYSSENET / Michel FREYSSENET is deceased read more

ACEA's consistency problem

PSA, FCA... ACEA (photo : groupe PSA)

Mike Manley, head of FCA, spoke to the press on Wednesday to promote a document published by ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers' Association), which he has chaired since December.
 
Entitled "A ten-point plan to help implement the European Green Deal", the document aims to provide the Commission with an indication of what the policies should be for the 16 manufacturers operating in Europe.
Extending and emphasising the tone of the eight pages that ACEA's services hastened to write in response to Ursula von der Leyen, Mike Manley began by endorsing ACEA's objective of climate neutrality and even stated that ACEA "strongly believes that carbon neutral road transport is possible by 2050".
He hastened to add, however, that this is far from being the sole responsibility of the manufacturers, and expecting too much from them without giving anything in return could have dramatic consequences.  
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Renault-PSA: one is intercontinental, the other is not.

Renault dans le rouge en France. Mais ailleurs?

The commercial results of the two French carmakers were published last week and, behind the facade homology represented by the similarity of volumes (3.75 million for Renault and 3.48 million for PSA) and their decline (-3.4% for Renault and -10% for PSA), the figures underline the significant differences between the two manufacturers.
 
Thus, seen from France, one would get the impression that PSA is outperforming Renault. In most segments except B, Renault products are barely outperforming Peugeot products and the latter obviously give PSA a "pricing power" that Renault is struggling to conquer. The financial results corresponding to the commercial results published last week are likely to confirm this in February.
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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance: putting an end to the myth of the Great Helmsman

Not gone for good yet? (Joseph Eid - AFP)
Last week Carlos Ghosn told us a story about Nissan, Renault and the Alliance that ended tragically in 2019. Indeed, for him, if his own trajectory broke in November 2018, then it could not be any different from that of the companies he was managing and the destiny of this fragile Alliance that he was leading.
 
There's nothing surprising about that since that's the way he's wanted history to be written for years: just as Jean-Luc Mélenchon [leader of the radical left in France] said "the Republic is me", Carlos Ghosn went repeating "the Alliance is me" and suggesting that if he was no longer there then everything would fall apart.
 
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2020: the year the EV must take off

Not queuing for take off

The weekly column by Bernard Jullien is also on www.autoactu.com.

In their report submitted in February 2019, Xavier Mosquet and Patrick Pelata considered that it was urgent, in order to "make France a leader in low-emission vehicles", to "create strong momentum to develop the electrified vehicle market": In the light of the emission curves for 2017 and 2018 and knowing the CAFE targets defined by the EU for 2020 and 2021, the roughly 30,000 battery EVs and 14,500 rechargeable hybrids registered in France in 2018 were not enough and it was essential, in their opinion, that from 2019 onwards, both firms and public authorities should be strongly mobilised.
 
At the end of 2019, in terms of registration figures, the effect is not very significant since, at the end of December, electric vehicles accounted for 42,800 (1.9% market share) and rechargeable hybrids for 18,600 (0.81%): manufacturers have waited until 2020 to launch their offers so that their EV registrations - which will double this year and then be affected in 2021 by a coefficient of 1.67 and in 2022 by 1.33 - will effectively take them out of the red zone in which de-dieselisation has put them.
 
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What if Bruno Le Maire was inspired by Donald Trump...

In the port of Tanger Med, low-cost Renault await...

The weekly column by Bernard Jullien is also on www.autoactu.com.

Last Friday Autoactu released two articles that unintentionally referred to each other.
 
One, signed by Laurent Bodin, dealt with the fate of PSA's Mulhouse assembly plant, which saw the production of the new 2008 model leave for Spain under the now well-known doctrine that French sites should not assemble vehicles from segments A and B, even if they are SUVs.
The other, signed by Bertrand Rakoto, analysed the automobile component of the new free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico and the constraints it imposes on manufacturers to limit competition between high-wage and low-wage countries and relocation to Mexico.
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Gérard Detourbet: a Renault guy, out of the ordinary

The silent disruptor

Gérard Detourbet passed away last Thursday. In 2017, he had to hand over the final stages of the development of K-ZE, the electric version of his Kwid in China, to take care of himself and will not be there to watch his commercial launch. However, one can count on his colleagues trained at his school to ensure its success there and to make him travel to Europe. read more

The German car industry: the social compromise at risk?

France's team knocked out. And in the end, Germany wins?
While the French automotive industry is going, this Monday, to try to understand what awaits it and try to put pressure to receive all the support it needs, news from our German neighbours converge to indicate that the coming years will be difficult for both automakers and equipment manufacturers.
 
 After Audi announced early last week that it would reduce its workforce by 9,500 by 2025, Daimler announced on the weekend that it would cut 10,000 jobs by 2022. A few weeks ago, Continental also announced a plan to reduce its workforce by 20,000 (out of a total of 244,000 people), including 7,000 in Germany. "In total," says RFI, "in recent months, the main car manufacturers and equipment manufacturers have planned nearly 30,000 job cuts.
 
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VW's imperialist enterprise in the media sphere

Dieselgate : and the winner is...

This November, Volkswagen's offensive in the electrical vehicle resulted in an impressive series of announcements and statements by the group's top executives, who seem to want to convince everyone that the inevitable move towards battery-powered electric vehicles is underway and that Volkswagen is the most ready of all manufacturers to lead this change.
 
There is undoubtedly a "Coué method" dimension here that leads managers, afraid of the risks they take, to want to convince themselves, their teams and customers that the battery-powered EV is the right choice.
Above all, there is obviously a very political will to impose a global standard and to create competitive rules of the game for the automotive industry, which will be all the easier for Volkswagen to respect as they will have been largely designed around its convictions and proposals.
 
One of the signs of this political work was given when Angela Merkel, at the beginning of the month, honoured the invitation of the group's leaders to attend the launch of the ID3 assemby plant at the Zwickau plant in eastern Saxony.
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Thanks to ageing and deindustrialisation, the Ile de France is painted green

Bernard Jullien is not cheering (source AFP).
The first results in the latest EGT (Enquête Globale Transports = Global Transport Survey) conducted by Île-de-France Mobilités, formerly known as STIF (Syndicat des transports d'Île de France, the state run transportation authority recently devoluted to the region), are now available.
[Expectations were high since the reduction of the car footprint has become the official policy not only of the socialist mayor of Paris Hidalgo but also now to her moderately conservative rival governing the region].
 
They reveal that the region chaired by Valérie Pécresse is where it was expected to be: compared to 2010 (date of the last EGT), the growth in commuting - following that of the population - was expected to be around 7% by 2020 and, to reduce GHG emissions linked to transport by 20%, it was necessary, according to Airparif's calculation, for car and two-wheel motorised travel to fall by 2%.
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Toyota et Honda : different but strong

Looks like a no-deal
This November, we receive the financial results of Japanese automakers for the first half of their fiscal year, which ends at the end of March. Awaiting of Nissan, which will only be made public this week, we can look at those of Toyota and Honda, which already reveal the unequal exposure of Japanese carmakers to the decline in global demand that is now taking shape.
 
From this point of view, Toyota impresses by posting increasing volumes, sales and results.
Toyota sold 4.64 million vehicles from April to September, 220,000 more than last year. Its turnover increased by 600 billion yen (almost 5 billion euros), i.e. by 4%, and its operating income by 140 billion yen (1.16 billion euros, +11%). Its operating margin was 8.6% of turnover for the first half of the previous year, compared to 9.2% for the first six months of 2020.
 
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PSA-FCA: Sergio's ghost is hovering over the deal

Some in the industry need a haircut

As the exact terms of the deal being negotiated and the reactions of the markets become clearer, the scope of this 50-50 appears a bit different from "parity". Indeed, the financial community is calculating, on the basis of the respective valuations of the two groups before the announcement of the project and the operations that will be carried out before the deal, that we would rather be at 60-40 for the benefit of PSA, and that PSA therefore is agrees for the deal to be made at a significant sacrifice. read more

Behind the financial results: the challenge of the pay out policy to shareholders

Payout_policy_2006-15.jpg

As we are informed in late October of the financial results for the third quarter of 2019 of the automotive groups, a rather difficult year 2019 is looming for most manufacturers and everything suggests that things will not improve in 2020: a large majority of markets are on a downward trend and it is imperative to continue investing.
 
Investing for a carmaker means both feeding the "business as usual" by regularly renewing the products. It also means, of course, launching or developing in new fields by setting up in countries where it was not present, or not enough, by creating new brands or by developing R&D skills that were not its own until then.
In all these cases, there is a need to spend now and, in most cases, several years in a row, expecting future revenues that may or may not become a reality.
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Renault: getting out of the ostrich policy

La même scène vue autrement
As if to mark his difference and/or to highlight what might have opposed her to Thierry Bolloré (Renault's former CEO, recently laid off), Clotilde Delbos (appointed to replace him) began her interim period at the head office of the Renault group with a "profit warning": no, the return to positive cash flow in the second half of the year will not offset the €700 million negative cash flow of the first half; no, revenue will not be constant but will fall by 3 to 4% and the operating margin will be 5% rather than 6% as announced in July; no, the 2022 plan will not be implemented and it is urgent to redefine it so that everyone knows where he is going.
 
She did not just talk to the analysts. She also spoke on Tuesday in a video for employees to tell them that the "Drive the Future" plan had to be taken up again because the market has changed over the past two years and that "unfortunately, the situation did not improve during the summer" and requires that the strategy be adjusted to "get Renault back on track".
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