Claudia Meyer
refurbishes old cars

Journalist: Editorial team ceo magazine | Photographer: Markus Bertschi | Magazine: Bigger, better, stronger – December 2023

Claudia Meyer is steering Renault Group Switzerland towards carbon neutrality. To achieve this, the automotive manufacturer is transforming at several different levels. One transformation area involves producing fewer new cars and instead reconditioning used ones.

“We’re transforming large areas of Renault Group and becoming a high-tech and mobility provider”

Ms Meyer, Renault Group is aiming to become the greenest automotive manufacturer in Europe by 2030. Will you achieve this goal?

We’ve made great progress, but want to become even more innovative, even greener and even more sustainable. One of Renault Group’s clear goals is to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2040. To achieve this, we’re focusing on electric vehicles, clean energy, low-carbon materials in production and sustainable mobility solutions. The model initiative that’s already underway plays a big part in this. By 2025, 14 new Renault models will hit the market, seven of which are fully electric. The features of our new Megane E-Tech Electric are groundbreaking in terms of carbon-free mobility: zero emissions during operation, use of recycled materials in the construction process, a second life for batteries and a high level of recyclability at the end of its usable life.

“Software-defined vehicles, artificial intelligence, data management and battery technology are the new ‘growth topics’ within the automotive industry.”

Which challenges will the Group face on its way to meeting this goal?

In Switzerland, challenges include the political framework conditions. Compared to other European countries, in Switzerland we must achieve our CO2 targets with virtually no subsidies. What’s more, in Switzerland we have topographical challenges to deal with. Unlike in Germany or the Netherlands, there are lots of mountain roads, which affects the car’s power delivery and its range. And we need better infrastructure for electric and hydrogen vehicles in Switzerland.

More electric charging stations, for example?

Today, wherever you go you can easily fill up your car with petrol or diesel. We’re in talks with the oil producers so that together we can bring about the sustainable transformation of these filling stations and put additional fast-charging points in place. When it comes to e-mobility, we’re pursuing a dual strategy. On the one hand, we offer electric e-tech vehicles that need electric charging points. On the other hand, we’ve got hybrid e-tech vehicles that are electrically powered and don’t need to be charged. Instead, they charge while braking and slowing down, so no external power source is needed.

“Renault Group will do everything in its power to pursue its ambitious goal of being carbon neutral in Europe by 2040. Important levers include zero-emission vehicles and the circular economy as well as sustainable energy and materials.”


Electric vehicles are more expensive than the ones that run on petrol. Is this impacting growth potential at a time when inflation is also affecting the middle class?

Studies by TCS (Touring Club Suisse) show that after just five years, driving is cheaper for the consumer with an electric car than it is with a petrol-run one, as the charging costs are much lower than the price of fuel. That’s quite an incentive. But the fact that Switzerland is a country of renters poses a bigger challenge. Renters rely on underground parking spaces with charging stations or a parking space outside their home. We’re calling for it to be easier and for there to be subsidies so that charging points can be installed in rental properties. And we want to see the creation of a charging infrastructure in the public space.

You grew up in a family of car dealers. How has the industry changed over the decades?

In the past, the focus was on the conventional sale of new cars and accessories like tyres. The dealerships also had a workshop for servicing vehicles. Today, it’s much more complex and things will continue to change. We’re going to see a lot of transformation.

What does this mean for Renault Group?

We’re transforming large areas of Renault Group and evolving to become a high-tech and mobility provider. We’re diversifying our brand portfolio, for example, by expanding our Alpine sports car brand to include six different electric models by 2030. Renault is already known for innovative e-tech cars and Dacia remains the ‘smart buy’ brand for affordable cars with attractive outdoor flair. In general, we’ll no longer produce as many new cars, but instead explore new mobility options. We’ll also pursue our Refactory strategy, which involves reconditioning more and more used cars to create new cars. An increasing number of customers will want to extend the life of their vehicle – and do this with the original manufacturer.

Does this mean there’s no conflict between sustainability and growth at Renault?

That’s right. We took environmental protection seriously really early on, and it’s now working to our advantage. In 2013, we built and launched the first full-electric cars. Of course, new challenges crop up, but with the newly founded business unit ‘The Future is Neutral’, we’re taking the next step towards battery recycling, by pushing forward with the recycling of materials to produce new batteries.

Will artificial intelligence (AI) help Renault Group continue to scale?

We mainly use AI in our built-in multimedia systems, for predictive maintenance and in data management. With the new Renault 5, for example, an AI avatar called Reno will help users enter their preferences in the multimedia system. We expect demand for modern technologies in cars to continue to increase in the future and some exciting collaborations are emerging. In France, for example, Renault Group’s new mobility brand Mobilize can provide data on road conditions and safety, noise and charging points thanks to Smart Road Monitoring technology. This means local authorities can analyse where they need to make improvements. These are great innovations.

“With every decision we make, we always check that the carbon footprint is right.”

Innovation always represents a challenge for the workforce though. How do employees deal with the changes?

Through our new strategies and products, we can optimise profitability and make the company more attractive. Renault Group has also experienced challenging times and the French government had to step in with financial support. Today we’re debt-free. This experience has certainly motivated employees to work through these changes and kick-start the revolution in the automotive sector.


We’re electrifying all vehicles and launching lots of innovations. By doing this, we’re recapturing the largest part of the market – the C-segment, which is the market for compact vehicles. We want to better serve the class of vehicles that falls between the B-segment or small car and the mid-size executive class once again. We’ve already succeeded with two models and the next one is in the starting blocks.

The car industry relies on many raw materials including steel. This can also hamper development.

Sourcing raw materials is a challenge in most of the company’s growth areas, so a change in thinking is needed here. The war in Ukraine led to a shortage of steel worldwide, so we decided to use less steel. Together with our alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi, we’ve developed flexible platforms on which 80% of the cars are based. This means we can achieve greater economies of scale. But in the new electric cars, bodywork parts that were previously made of steel are now also made of lighter materials, which is hugely important for the battery range.

Another challenge is the shortage of skilled workers. How do you find qualified staff to implement your growth strategies?

Jobseekers now have very high demands when it comes to salary expectations and flexible working hours, for example. We’re trying to respond to this trend, but it isn’t possible in all areas. There are certain jobs in the automotive industry that can’t be done working from home or where shift work is needed. So we have to make our company attractive in different ways.As a group, we’ve got excellent references. We focus on diversity, trust and motivation, and our products are inspiring. Renault’s employees sit at the very heart of all this and receive continuous support with their professional and personal development.

Are there now more women in the male-dominated automotive industry?

We’ve seen a sharp rise in the proportion of women at corporate headquarters over the last few years – also because the industry has become more sustainable and diverse. This is a positive development that can be observed in lots of companies. We’ve created many new, exciting jobs, for example in IT, design, engineering and for new services. At Renault Switzerland, 40% of our management board members are female, which was not the case a few years ago. It is and remains a really exciting industry – for men and women.

With a market share of 7.23%, Renault Switzerland with its Renault, Dacia and Alpine brands is one of the biggest importers on the Swiss market and also one with the longest tradition. Dating back to 30 April 1927, Renault laid the foundation for importing and distributing the Renault brand in Switzerland through the joint stock company S.A.V.A.R. (Société Anonyme pour la Vente des Automobiles Renault) in Geneva, making it one of the first importing companies of a European automotive manufacturer in Switzerland. Today, the company trades as Renault Suisse SA and its headquarters are in Urdorf near Zurich.

Claudia Meyer (54) grew up in Switzerland in a family of car dealers. She’s been managing director of Renault Suisse SA since 2021. In May 2023, Claudia Meyer also joined the management board of auto-schweiz, the Swiss association of automobile importers. Her career began in 1998 in the marketing department of Jaguar Switzerland at Emil Frey AG. She then took up positions in marketing communications, product marketing and brand management at DaimlerChrysler Switzerland and Fiat Group Suisse SA. In 2014, she moved to Nissan Switzerland as marketing director, before taking over as the country director in 2017.