RTD sees a serene future

Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) is serenely facing its “stand alone” future even if CEO Emmanuel Levacher is aware of the issues he will have to deal with. For those who have not being following the saga, the issues are those awaiting the

Emmanuel Levacher

manufacturer of armoured vehicles for the defence and security sectors, now that its owner, Sweden’s Volvo, has given up on selling it.

Although management spent a lot of time over the past year working on the sale, the company managed to stay focused on current business and should achieve the same turnover as in 2016: €450m. This does not include revenues from its U.S. subsidiary Mack Defense, nor civilian trucks sold, for example, to firefighters. In fact, Mack Defense and the civilian trucks will be gradually detached from RTD, but remain with VGGS, the Volvo Group Govermental Sales (Volvo Group) unit which owns RTD. But RTD will no longer sell Mack-branded trucks, as it did in Canada, which in 2015 bought 1,500 8×8 logistic trucks manufactured largely in France.

However, the other brands of military vehicles, Acmat and Panhard, will remain with RTD.

So, to clarify things, would it not be a good idea to change the name and choose one that brings together the three entities: RTD, Panhard and Acmat? Volvo doesn’t even own the Renault Trucks Defense name, “it’s used under a free licence,”  Levacher said yesterday over lunch with some journalists. Ideas are welcome!

And then there are growth issues, because we are not much without partnerships,” said Levacher, explaining that for most procurement programmes today, RTD works with partners, Nexter and Thales for Griffon and Jaguar vehicles, or, with local manufacturers in the case of export contracts. This is certainly one of the issues in the ongoing negotiations with Belgium to acquire Griffon and Jaguar vehicles. These talks are expected to come to fruition in mid-2018, according to well-placed sources.

For these two vehicles, RTD is responsible for three large chunks: mobility (that is, the whole vehicle except the armoured body, the engine being a Volvo engine “heavily militarized” in France); the 12.7mm turret; and all the after-sales, even for the spare parts made by its partners.

The sale had no impact on staff, only one resignation being directly attributable to the sale. The company continued to hire along similar lines as for the past three years, about 100 people a year.