Renault has announced that it's selling off its distributorship in Ireland, and handing over the importing and distribution of Renault and Dacia models here to the Cedar group.
Nissan Ireland distributor
Cedar Ireland Automotive Limited, which is owned by the Kuwaiti based Al Babtain family, already has significant interests in the Irish car market, including being the importer and distributor for Nissan. Cedar also owns the vast Windsor Motors, which is one of Ireland's largest car dealer groups, with 16 dealerships around the country.
Renault has been a factory operation in Ireland since 2007, when the French car maker bought back its distributorship here from businessman - and at the time, star of TV's Irish version of The Apprentice - Bill Cullen. The French brand topped the Irish sales charts in 2009 thanks to some significant discounts of its four-door Fluence saloon, but sales have slipped back since then.
The deal is expected to take effect from November, giving Cedar only a few weeks to get to know its new dealerships and operations before the crucial early-January sales period.
Renault-Nissan Alliance renewed
According to Renault, the deal with Cedar is part of its 'Renaulution' plan, which seeks to reverse massive multi-billion Euro losses incurred across Europe during the pandemic. "With this transaction, Renault Group aims at further strengthening its position locally thanks to an efficient business model supporting both commercial ambitions and customer satisfaction requirements" said Renault in an official statement. It's surely not insignificant that Cedar has long looked after Nissan's interests in Ireland, and globally Renault and Nissan have just extended their 'Alliance' partnership, sharing cars, technology, and management.
"In terms of brands partnerships, Cedar is a long-standing partner of the Alliance Group, both as dealer for Renault Group and also as Nissan Importer in Ireland. Thanks to this agreement, I am very confident that Renault Group will achieve its Renaulution ambition in Ireland" said Philippe Buros, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Marketing and Services of Renault Group.
"Cedar is proud to become the official Importer of Renault and Dacia for the distribution of the existing product range including a rich line-up of high-tech electric vehicles in Ireland. We will continue the successful path of the Renault distribution organisation and add our long-standing expertise in this country. We are looking forward to further developing the business together with the local distribution network", said James McCarthy, CEO of Cedar.
Alpine coming too
As well as Renault and Dacia, Cedar will be due shortly to gain another brand from the Renault Group family - Alpine, which is not only the sporty brand of the lineup, but which will from now on be a fully-electric brand.
Nissan is currently in ninth place in the Irish new car sales charts, with a 3.89 per cent market share. This deal will add Renault's 3.54 per cent, and Dacia's 4.18 per cent shares, added to which will be Renault's successful commercial vehicle sales making Cedar one of the biggest automotive importing groups in the country.
In Ireland, the tradition for many years was for the national importer of a car brand to be a locally-owned, independent company. That trend was reversed for a time, as the likes of BMW, Volkswagen Group, and of course Renault, bought up their Irish distributors, turning them into subsidiaries of global companies. This Cedar deal seems to underline a new trend - a return to locally-owned distributors, which - in the guise of Toyota Ireland, Kia Ireland, and Hyundai Ireland - have recently been having more success than their globally-owned rivals.