Steve Cropley: Luca de Meo announces big things for Renault Car News

This week Steve reflects on what to expect from Luca de Meo’s Renault Group, reflects on a recent explosion in a Land Rover Defender 90 and admires how The Technical College of the University of Silverstone attracts young engineers to F1.


Automakers with decisive leaders make better cars. Don’t take my word for it, just read a few names: Henry Ford, Ettore Bugatti, Enzo Ferrari, William Lyons, Colin Chapman and Elon Musk. This truth is one of the reasons why I feel clearly optimistic about the future of the Renault group, now led by Luca de Meo, interviewed at length in this issue. We met through Zoom, and for an hour together, I found his more in-depth explanation of the “Renaulution” plan particularly exciting from a new product perspective. (Latest official press release on the prospect of a new Renault R4: “Why not?”)

I have known Meo in previous roles. He knows how to take total control without standing on the ceremony or hampering the style of his lieutenants. He surprised me by wanting to know – frankly, as well as I could tell – how Renault’s new plans were playing with us in the UK. Of course, we are only a 3% market, he said, but Renault would like to do a lot better here. And due to our government’s 2030 deadline for internal combustion engine cars, they’ll likely use us as a test case for new techniques and marketing messages. Bring it on.


Wandering the Cotswolds in a new Land Rover Defender 90, I saw an old 110 coming the other way. He was pushed (I assumed at first, giving free rein to my stereotyping instinct) by the kind of guy who would barely notice our new model, let alone want one. But as the distance between us closed, I saw a big thumb: it was at the top. Then I saw the teeth, in the center of a huge smile. It was obvious that we had this guy’s full approval, which was heartwarming. One of Land Rover’s worries was always losing the traditionalists. But it seems to me (setting aside some justified price complaints) that they’ve avoided this altogether.


“Volkswagen’s ID 4 completes an epic 6,700 mile journey across America,” reads my inbox. It sounded awfully OTT. What kind of disaster would it have been if this state-of-the-art electric vehicle hadn’t gone so far that many people go on vacation? A century ago, Henry Ford and his friends (including Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and US President Warren Harding) drove similar distances on summer tours in Ford Model Ts without bothering to brag.


For most of us, school and race cars have traditionally been at odds: you drew cars in your textbooks as a substitute for a real job. But Silverstone University Technical College isn’t like that, especially now that it has partnered with race car maker Praga Cars. From the age of 14, students train here for careers in technology, racing engineering, and related professions like organizing events.

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This notice was published: 2021-04-21 05:01:24