‘Renaulution’ with a wave of new cars and dealer buy-in

Renault is bringing the successful ‘Renaulution’ plan to Ireland with the launch of a wave of new cars and what it describes as a cast iron commitment to keep the traditional dealership model at the heart of its relationship with customers. This new plan is designed to maximise growth potential with the dealer network at the heart of it.

Renault tells us that Renaulution has been an outstanding success in Europe with 19.3 per cent growth in sales last year. It adds that its arrival in Ireland follows Renault’s success in outperforming the European market to gain market share and to move from fifth to second place in the European passenger and light commercial vehicle market.

It points to a key component of that success has been Renault’s determination to restructure and to double-down on localising its distribution business in the smaller European markets, and Ireland is now the eighth market where Renault has sold its distribution business to a local, independent distributor.

The Renault and Dacia distribution business was last year bought by the Cedar Group, which intends to harness the European momentum behind the Renault brand to increase sales and market share in Ireland, capitalising on its strong expertise in automotive distribution, in-depth local market knowledge and strong partnerships with its dealer network.

Who is behind the Cedar Group?
It is owned by the Kuwaiti-based Al Babtain family who have extensive interests in the Irish automotive sector. These interests include 100 per cent ownership of Nissan Ireland which has been the exclusive distributor of Nissan cars, LCVs and parts in Ireland for the past 45 years.

They also own Windsor Motors Limited, one of Ireland’s largest automotive retail groups with 16 retail outlets representing eight franchises, which was acquired in 1999.

Their interests also include a 50 per cent stake in Autolease Fleet Management Limited (NIFTI), a joint venture with Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. which provides business and personal leasing services to the Irish market.

In summary, the Cedar Group, encompasses Nissan Ireland, Cedar Ireland Automotive (Renault and Dacia), Windsor Motors Limited and Autolease Fleet Management (NIFTI). It is headquartered in Dublin, employing 600 people with a reported turnover close to €1 billion per annum.

“Renault is on a massive charge across Europe. Its sales, market share and share price are surging ahead,” said James McCarthy, CEO of the Cedar Group.

“We observed what was happening and understood that Renaulution was about restructuring, looking for efficiencies and a better way of doing things. The potential for Renault in Ireland is immense and we intend to maximise that.

“Renault has the widest choice of award-winning electric, hybrid and petrol cars available. Irish car buyers can look forward to a fantastic range of new cars arriving in local Renault dealerships. We have already launched the new Clio and new Arkana and we will unveil six new models over the coming three months.”

These models include today’s launch of the Renault Scenic E-Tech electric, which has already been named European Car of the Year, the Rafale E-Tech hybrid and the new Captur. They will be followed by the launch of the Symbioz E-Tech full hybrid, Renault 5 E-Tech electric, and the all-new Master LCV later this year.

McCarthy added: “Renault is the best-selling French brand in the world thanks to Renaulution and Irish car buyers recognise the brand for its style, elegance and sophistication. Renaulution is real and it is working. Our goal is to leverage its success and our expertise as an independent distributor to reclaim Renault’s position as one of the top selling car brands in Ireland.”

The new Renault Scenic E-Tech

What about Dacia?
The company says that the success of the Renaulution plan also helped Dacia, pointing to a 17.4 per cent growth register across Europe last year. Dacia has climbed four places and is ranked eleventh on the European passenger and LCV market. The company boasts that this success is driven by its new brand identity for “essential, cool, robust, affordable and environmentally friendly vehicles”.

The Cedar Group says that it will also bring an exciting new product offering to the Irish market, starting with the launch of the all-new Duster and all-new Spring, which it claims is set to be a game-changer in the electric vehicle market in Ireland.

Since acquiring the Renault and Dacia distribution business in November of last year, the Cedar Group says that it has restructured Renault’s operations and harnessed its existing infrastructure to carry out all distribution activities in Ireland. Customer service, training, parts distribution and aftersales functions have also been relocated from the UK to Ireland with the creation of 15 new jobs.

The Cedar Group will continue to operate Renault’s 32 dealerships across Ireland alongside Nissan’s 33 dealerships, and has no plans to merge the two networks.

McCarthy continued: “Renault has a fantastic dealer network in Ireland that is committed to the Renault franchise. We have no intention of moving to an agency model. The best people to sell cars and to drive our ambition are working in these dealerships. We believe in the retail model and will continue to support it.

“The traditional dealership model works because it is customer centric. The old maxim that people buy from people holds true. Our dealer network recognises the value of building and maintaining trust with customers and in providing customers with the expertise they require to make the right choice for what is often the second biggest investment in their lives after buying a home.”

The Cedar Group has also made a number of new appointments to strengthen its management team. Seamus Morgan, managing director of Nissan Ireland has also been named as head of distribution for the Cedar Group with responsibility for Nissan, Renault and Dacia, while Trevor Toner has been appointed chief operating officer at Cedar Motors Limited with specific day-to-day responsibility for Renault and Dacia.