ACCOLADES FOR WOMEN AND DESIGN AT RENAULT By: Renault ◾Agneta Dahlgren, Head of Design for C-Segment and Electric Vehicles, named Woman of the Year 2016 by Women And Vehicles in Europe (WAVE)
◾All-New Renault Scénic and Grand Scénic models to go on sale before the end of 2016
◾All-New Renault Grand Scénic due to be revealed on 24 May
Agneta Dahlgren, WAVE's Woman of the Year 2016
Agneta Dahlgren was named Woman of the Year 2016 by the independent organisation WAVE (Women and Vehicles in Europe) yesterday (19 May).
The annual Woman of the Year award is based on a vote by automobile industry journalists of both genders 1.
By singling out Agneta Dahlgren, Groupe Renault's Head of Design for C-Segment (All-New Kadjar, Mégane and Scénic vehicles) and Electric Vehicles, the panel – in keeping with the organisation's objectives – wished to highlight the career of a woman who can serve as a role model for young women seeking work in the automobile industry, and whose position is key to her company and to the automobile industry as a whole. On both accounts, Agneta was a unanimous choice.
An outstanding career at the heart of Renault Design
After studying design engineering in her native Sweden, Agneta Dahlgren moved to France in 1990 to round off her Industrial Design studies at Compiègne's University of Technology (UTC). She has lived in France ever since, working exclusively for Renault which offered her an initial work placement opportunity in 1991.
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She went on to join the Corporate Design's concept car department where she gained a more prospective overview which she was able apply from 2000 as Project Leader working on the design of several vehicles, from trucks (within the framework of a partnership between Renault and Volvo Trucks) to small city cars. She held this position for almost 10 years.
It wasn't long before her cross-functional vision, her ability to take technical constraints into account, her aptitude for negotiation and her work on the all-electric Renault ZOE were noticed.
When Laurens van den Acker took over as Senior Vice-President, Corporate Design in 2009 with the intention of creating a new identity for the brand, he appointed Agneta Dahlgren as Head of Design for the strategically-important C-Segment. The All-New Renault Mégane, which was introduced at the beginning of 2016, and the All-New Renault Scénic, which is due to go on sale in October, were both designed under her leadership.
'The new Scénic's ideal proportions and highly emotional styling have reinvented the MPV segment,' notes a member of the WAVE panel. 'Agneta Dahlgren has worked on the design of models that have allowed Renault to express its new identity in a very natural manner. Along with the new Mégane, it is certainly a model that will help to drive the brand's growth.'
Key roles played by women during the design of the All-New Scénic
During the design of the new Scénic, Agneta worked alongside Jérémie Sommer (exterior design) and Maxime Pinol (interior design) and is particularly proud to have succeeded in breaking away from traditional compact MPV cues: 'It's not because you're a mother or a father that you don't want to travel in a family car that is sexy,' she smiles.
All-New Renault Scénic Product Manager Cécile Sobole also played a key part in the new Scénic's design. 'The new Scénic is an even more desirable car than its predecessor. All its occupants enjoy a status-enhancing experience. The aim was to produce a model that is in tune with today's age and adapted to the lives of modern families. Examples of this include the new aviation-style folding tables for rear passengers and the rear seats which can be folded automatically to form an all-flat floor.'
The All-New Renault Scénic's Programme Director Irina Zaretskaya stressed the importance of safety and comfort for families: 'The structure of the new Scénic's seats is the same as that used for the new Espace's seats, and we have also carried over the crossmember-free panoramic glass roof which makes sure that front and rear occupants alike benefit from a bright cabin. In terms of safety, the new Scénic comes with a suite of 10 or so driver aids, including Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection which, for the first time in the segment, is standard equipment for all versions.'
Women@Renault: a resolute plan core to the Group's performance
Groupe Renault's strong commitment to diversity includes a proactive policy in favour of equal opportunities for women and men across the company.
Convinced that gender diversity fosters performance, innovation and motivation, Renault launched its Women@Renault plan in 2010 in a move to increase the proportion of women working at every level of the company. The scheme is founded on a human resources plan and an in-house social network.
As a result of this ambitious programme, women accounted for 18.8 per cent of the Group's staff at end-2015 (compared with 10 per cent in 1999). This diversity is to be found at every level of the company, from the shop floor to the Group Executive Committee, and the current proportion of women staff is particularly high for the automobile industry.
From the outset, the Women@Renault plan has also featured a multi-profession, in-house, mixed-gender, international social network where women and men alike can trade opinions and ideas on subjects such as gender diversity and training- and career management-related best practices.
◾Women accounted for 18.8% of total Group staff at end-2015 (compared with 10% in 1999).
◾24.2% of key positions within the Group were held by women at end-2015 (22% in 2012).
◾Three of the 12 members (25%) of the Group Executive Committee in 2016 are women.
◾Proactive recruitment targets: 30% women for technical positions (engineering and manufacturing) and 50% women for positions in sales and support services.
◾Since 2010, around 670 women have benefited from at least one of the measures specified in the Women@Renault plan: training for leadership (530) and mentoring (140).
◾In 2016, the Women@Renault network has more than 4,500 members in 13 countries. More than one in five are men.
◾Last but not least, six of the 19 directors who sit on Renault's Board of Directors in 2016 are women.
The design of the All-New Scénic
When designing the exterior of the new Scénic, Jérémie Sommer drew inspiration from the avant-garde approach that spawned the initial Scénic of 1996 and the R-Space concept car that was revealed in 2011. In the case of the fourth-generation Scénic, the aim was to start from a blank sheet of paper to deliver a fresh take on the compact MPV.
'It didn't take us long to realise that the R-Space's big wheels were fundamental to the overall balance of its stance and its harmonious proportions,' says Jérémie. 'Following talks with engineering, the decision to run with big wheels was agreed at a very early stage.'
In addition to the fitment of 20-inch wheels, the new Scénic's dynamic styling was further emphasised by the design of its sides, including a raised belt-line towards the rear, prominent rear haunches and streamlined forms framed by a black sill and roof.
'Inside, two distinct ambiences coexist, namely a sporty 'cockpit' feel and a more open plan arrangement,' observes interior designer Maxime Pinol. 'When the sliding centre console is in its foremost position and forms a single unit with the dashboard, the dominant 'cockpit' feel is underlined by the fact that the instruments are oriented clearly towards the driver. When the centre console is slid back, it becomes an item of 'furniture' that provides all occupants with stowage and connectivity, including access to four USB ports.'
The All-New Renault Grand Scénic will be unveiled on 24 May.
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