Renault adds to electric car range with sportier model

Luca de Meo, Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Renault, poses in front of a Renault Megane eVision car during a news conference about Renault electric strategy during Renault eWays event in Meudon, France, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

MEUDON, France (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault unveiled on Thursday a new electric car concept with a larger, sportier design, as it bets on medium-size family vehicles to try to turn itself around.

Under new Chief Executive Luca de Meo, the loss-making company aims to narrow its focus on its most profitable models and edge up prices, as well as make a big push on electric vehicles.

The company’s latest show car, dubbed the “Megane eVision”, incorporates SUV-style large wheels, but with a more compact design. Renault said it would be a pillar of the “compact” car category, which it wants to expand on and is more profitable than smaller cars.

“A whole new generation of innovation-packed electric vehicles is to come,” De Meo said in a statement, ahead of a presentation of the model.

Renault was already struggling with faltering sales before the COVID-19 pandemic, and is simultaneously trying to reboot a strained relationship with Japanese partner Nissan.

The new electric car would be the first built on the CMF-EV platform, or vehicle architecture, developed jointly by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

The definitive model for production will be unveiled in 2021, Renault added. The company already makes a small electric car known as Zoe.

Sources had previously told Reuters that De Meo - who arrived in July and is due to present his strategy in January - was keen to build on Renault’s popular Megane range.

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Mark Potter