Gérard Detourbet’s name says nothing to the general Romanian public. An “anonymity” unfair to this specialist of the automotive industry at the highest level, to which we owe the modern concept of low cost car, which worked wonderfully in the case of Dacia. Last but not least at the age of 73, Detourbet was the initiator of accessible models within the Renault Group.
The former mathematician became, at the beginning of the 2000s, an important part in the management of the Renault Group. To such an extent, that Gérard Detourbet’s “child” is today a major element of the French concern, which has benefited from the growth of Dacia in recent years, be it volume or profit.
Gérard Detourbet entered the back door at Renault in the 1970s, his career only beginning in the late 1990s, when he was appointed director of the engine division. At the time, Renault President Louis Schweitzer wanted a new start for the brand.
A special team, made up of Gérard Detourbet and other members of the Renault Group management, was appointed to handle the X90 project. Detourbet was recognized as a guy who said things as they were and had nothing to lose. He took over the Dacia File, which will become what represents today, 40% of Renault Group’s sales. The Dacia plant in Mioveni resumed its growth with the launch of the Logan model, which initiated the “design to cost” trend, a new concept from the early 2000s, which considered prices as a priority in the development of a car model.
Later, Gerard Detourbet wanted to step down, but Carlos Ghosn convinced him to stay. He became responsible for the Kwid project in India, where he once again manages to launch a cheap car and find new international markets. Gérard Detourbet, a field worker, who liked to cross India to take the pulse of the local car market, again managed to fulfill his mission: “For Kwid and its derivatives, the investment of 420 million euros was twice smaller than it was foreseen in the initial project”, he commented. This was to be his last project.