Samsung to Renault: Take our name off your cars


One of the more obscure tie ups in the world motor industry is that Renault bought 70% of the car interests of Samsung in 2000 (the late unlamented Renault Koleos pictured above was actually a Samsung). Now Samsung wants its name taken off all cars made by “Renault Samsung Group”. It shows how times have changed: Renault was a name that gave credibility to Samsung, but now the company that makes the super-trendy Galaxy phone and tablet wants nothing to do with the brand of a struggling French car company.

In 2010 Renault negotiated a 10 year deal to keep both names, but after only two years it seems to be falling apart. According to a report in the Korea Herald newspaper and reported by industry website www.just-auto.com, an executive of Samsung says, “We want to take our brand Samsung out of Renault Samsung since we don’t have anything to do with the car sales”.In the 1980s and 1990s, every big Korean company wanted to get into car-making because that was seen as the sign of a fully-industrialised country (and because arch-rival Japan had done so well out of cars). Now that Samsung is dominant in the far more dynamic, and profitable, consumer electronics industry, it sees cars as a bit of a relic.

Lots of companies have left the car industry because they went bust or got taken over. However, we can’t think of many companies that could afford to stay in it (Samsung could afford to buy a typical European car manufacturer without blinking), but have decided that cars just aren’t worth the bother.