Renault goes for bio growth

Brussels, February 10:

Half the cars made by Renault will be able to run on a mixture of petrol and ethanol by 2009 under plans to turn around the ailing French group’s fortunes set out yesterday by Carlos Ghosn, chief executive.

Ghosn, renowned as a ‘cost-killer’ when he ran Nissan, has plumped for a strategy of growth in sales, profits and eco-friendly vehicles rather than the feared job losses and plant closures. His strategic presentation, broadcast live to all Renault factories in France and on several TV channels, set targets of increasing global sales by 800,000, launching 26 new models and achieving a six per cent profit margin in the next three years.

French car groups have seized on the call by president Chirac to end the country’s ‘addiction to oil’ with plans for bio-fuels or hybrid power. Peugeot Citroen last week opted to produce diesel hybrids emitting 90g of carbon dioxide and reducing consumption to 3.4 litres per km by 2010. Ghosn said that by 2009 all its diesel cars wo-uld be able to operate with 30 per cent diester, produced fr-om vegetable or animal oil. By 2008 it would sell a million cars capable of emitting less than 140g of Co2 per km.