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Renault Sells The Majority Of Its Russian Investments For Just One Ruble

Morning Dump Renault Russia

Renault writes off its Russian assets, Audi and Porsche join Formula 1, BMW throws its customer service reps a video function. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Renault Is Bleeding From Russian Investments

Dacia Duster De L'equipage N°301 Crepin Dumas
Photo credit: Dacia

It didn’t take a Lada dough for Russian automotive research institute NAMI to snap up a majority of Renault’s share of Russian carmaker AvtoVaz. According to Automotive News Europe, NAMI’s scooping up 68 percent of Renault’s stake in AvtoVaz for just one symbolic ruble. At current conversion rates, that works out to roughly 1.4 US cents. When you deal with sharks, you’ll end up in their jaws sooner or later.

Indeed, Renault took a gamble on Russian production and lost. Since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine, the French manufacturer has written off all 2.2 billion euros of its Russian assets. Production in Moscow? Halted. The supply chain allegedly no longer exists. The Moscow factory itself? Seized by the Russian state. Should Renault want their stake in AvtoVaz or their factory back, they’ll have to pay much more than a mere ruble. Perhaps more importantly, Renault’s market capitalization is now below the value of its stake in Nissan. What does this mean for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance? It looks like we’ll have to wait to find out. The moral of the story? Shake hands with tyrants and you’re gonna get screwed. Just look at how Volvo’s shipment of 144s to North Korea went. The Democratic People’s Republic took the cars and skipped the bill. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Russian government’s strong-arming Renault, and the French manufacturer has nobody to blame but itself for entering the arrangement with AvtoVaz.

Welcome To The Thunderdome

Stuttgart Jul 2012 31 (porsche Museum 1986 Mclaren Tag Mp 4 2 C Formel 1)
Photo credit: By Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20346355

The drawn-out will-they won’t-they dance of Audi and Porsche courting Formula 1 is finally drawing to a close. Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has confirmed in a YouTube video that both brands will officially be joining F1. Reuters is reporting that Audi is preparing an offer of 500 million euros for McLaren, a potential acquisition that would send shock waves through the sport. As for Porsche, it’s reportedly planning a collaboration with Red Bull come 2026. After all, Red Bull is using home-built Honda powerplants and doesn’t have an engine supplier lined up for 2026.

Honestly, this could go either well or terribly. Audi has no experience with Formula 1, although its Auto Union predecessor did compete in European Drivers’ Championship prior to World War II. As for Porsche, its F1 history is a bit of a mixed bag. The Porsche-TAG TTE P01 1.5-liter twin-turbo V6 was a Hans Mezger-designed masterpiece that propelled Niki Lauda and Alain Prost to victory in the 1984, 1985 and 1986 driver’s championships. On the flip side, the Porsche 3512 V12 of 1991 was a complete dog. Massively heavy, notably underpowered and seriously unreliable, the 3512 was so bad that Footwork Arrows dumped it mid-season. Will Porsche’s next F1 engine be any good? I guess we’ll find out.

You Won’t SEMA There

Hpd Honda Civic Si Race Car Prototype Sema
Photo credit: Honda

As the automotive industry continues to reevaluate the value of auto shows, Ford and Honda are pulling out of this year’s SEMA show. Honestly? It feels about time. SEMA isn’t a traditional car show, it’s more of an industry trade show for aftermarket parts. From an OEM perspective, it’s likely a massive waste of resources. Imagine shoveling money and time into building custom one-offs and a special display just to show off to parts companies, tuners and fellow industry members. A bit wasteful when you’re not in the business of modification, yeah?

In a press release issued last week, SEMA confirmed that Ford and Honda will not be returning to the show, although Volkswagen will be attending the show in an official capacity for the first time. While the exits of Ford and Honda feel appropriate, Volkswagen throwing their name in the hat also seems quite fitting. The German brand has been a fixture of the tuning scene for so long that it’s honestly surprising that they haven’t had a SEMA booth before. Who knows, maybe Jamie Orr will cook up something neat. His Harlequin Atlas and retro-inspired Mark 8 GTI have garnered significant buzz.

Beam Me To The Bimmer, Scotty

P90389057 Highres The New Bmw 540i Sed
Photo credit: BMW

BMW has entered a partnership with software company Blitzz to take its customer service program to the next level. How do they plan to do this? By granting roadside assistance reps a video link to car trouble, a bit of a game changer when it comes to diagnosing breakdowns. According to Automotive News, BMW’s been trying out Blitzz’s remote inspection software since 2020 and has noticed a decrease in the length of roadside assistance calls.

Picture this, a 2021 BMW 540i owner is driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas when the oil light comes on to request a one-quart top-up. The owner could pull off the highway, walk into an auto parts store, ring up roadside assistance, and be visually guided to a correct bottle of LL-17 FE+-approved oil so they can continue on their journey. So how does it all work? When a customer rings up BMW’s 1-800 roadside assistance number, a representative emails the customer a link. That link grants the representative access to the customer’s rear-facing phone camera to help diagnose minor issues, no app required. Once everything’s sorted, the video link and call end, and everyone continues on their way. While Blitzz integration likely isn’t necessary for the enthusiast who can accurately explain how their Bavarian chariot has shat its dacks, it’s a great tool for less technically-minded owners. Hopefully more manufacturers take notice of this program as few things are more painful than overly drawn-out customer service calls.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. Welcome to May, everyone! While April showers are said to bring May flowers, it seems like more May showers are in store for my neck of the woods. Still, I’d love to know what automotive stuff you got up to last weekend. I burned off the old gas in my 325i with a nice IKEA run. Hey, rooftop parking photos always have a nice vibe, and everybody could use a few more succulents as houseplants. I also tweaked the equalizer to play nicer with my recently-added Bluetooth Audio adapter. Sound quality is on-par with AAC through a 3.5 mm cable, although I definitely wouldn’t mind upgrading to BavSound woofers for a little extra low-end kick.

Lead photo credit: Renault

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44 Responses

  1. It finally was decent enough weather on the weekend so I could take my winter wheels and tyres off and put the rest of year set on. Looking forward to the day when I don’t have to do that twice a year. Snow driving is fun, but not as fun now I’m spinning front wheels instead of rear wheels.

  2. While it’s easy to laugh at Renault (and others) for investing in Russia, the Russian government has been actively trying to attract foreign investment in all of their industries since the breakup of the USSR.

    This effective seizure of the foreign investment will prevent anyone investing in Russia for decades to come and will hurt the Russian people while the Oligarchs will continue to live the high life. It’s the Russian people who are having to live with the sharks.

    On the car wrenching side, one of my kids got a flat this weekend (and drove on it a few miles before realizing the problem, so the tire is toast) but managed to pull over, change to the spare tire and drive home on the spare. In spite of the wrecked tire, I’m proud that they did it all without my involvement.

    1. The partnership also seems to have begun in early 2008. Before they invaded Georgia or Ukraine, and right around the time Putin respected the term limits and ceded power on paper to Medvedev. Russia seemed to be continuing their transition to more of a capitalist democracy, if slowly.

    2. You’re mostly right.I’m a bit each way on this.
      Most countries had some kind of relationship with russia so lets not pick on companies who tried to have an honest go.
      That said, it was pretty obvious for several years that russia has wanted to be the arsehole of the world.Personally i would have cut and run earlier.
      At least try to get the machines and tooling out.

      BTW try not to feel sorry for the russian peoples.They’ve been willingly going along with this!
      Their heads are all wrong.Almost the whole damn population things that showing might brings respect

      1. Car only has the ignition switch and the clutch switch with a relay. So simple. I replaced the clutch switch last year. I swapped with a used ignition switch I had laying around and it was doing the same thing. Then I just plugged in the one I removed for shits and giggles and turned it with a screwdriver and it fired up great. I am wondering if there is too much play in the key cylinder or some shit like that. I did order a brand new ignition switch to test with.

    1. It may not be this, just posting in case-
      I recently experienced a bizarre battery earth wire fault.
      On my car it allowed the car to crank because the starter could run happily on the 8v , but the ignition and other vital systems refused to work at that voltage.Once i cleaned the joints on the large battery earth wire everything came right.It’s counterintuitive right?!
      To test for this, simply do a voltage drop test when cranking

  3. Automotive pursuits of the weekend: I drove 75+ miles in a truck with a badly running engine getting about 10MPG to pick up a free 5-speed transmission I have no plans for and have no vehicle or engine it will mate to.

    Its a sickness.

  4. Spent Saturday double checking our Mazda5 for our 1000 mile trip to the Midwest with our 7 month old and 3 year old. Fluids, air, a good glass cleaning inside and out, vacuum, and good wash. It’ll get filthy before we get halfway, but atleast I know it’ll right at the start.

  5. Loooong Saturday drive in my ‘03 Miata. Started off as a 50km run to our favourite cafe, then turned into a 275+km day out. Discovered three things: 1 – late April weather here in Nova Scotia kinda sucks. 2- Firestone Firehawks actually suit the Miata. 3- All that fussing over the new door seals actually made the car mostly waterproof again.

    Also re-discovered that the Chief Financial Officer really loves long rides in the Miata, so a win all around!

  6. Weekend automotive pursuit: Spent the 4 hours of the IMSA & Indy races in the background doing a front brake job on my wife’s Discovery 5. Dealer quote: $3,000. My parts cost $400 ! I am trying to convince my wife she owes me $2,600 in services to be rendered 😉

  7. We tried our luck again with the Weber on the Chevy’s 250 I-6. Still wants to flood. I hate carburetors. I thought I was going the bulletproof route with the Weber, but it’s still been a headache. I love this truck, but man, having EFI sounds great right now.

  8. Spent all weekend doing the last of the technology maintenance so it’ll run through summer uninterrupted. Did at least talk to a person about a track toy.

    With any luck, burning off the last of the old gas in the 997.2 by taking it down to look at a nyan later this week. If that pans out, the prior phrasing will make all too perfect sense, and everyone on the Internet will hate me for it. (Don’t care. Everyone on the track will hate me a lot more.)

    1. And now my therapist will have another reason to be astonished I haven’t killed myself yet.

      The 997.2 has to get towed into the dealer, again. Who I have a bad feeling blew it up when they did the alternator. Hopefully they just fragged the battery which is very much in warranty, but voltage and CCA were in range.

  9. I got my CJ5 running well for the first time in 2 years!!!!! The Dauntless v6 runs and drives!
    It turns out the distributor was backwards. I had been messing with the timing a lot and mush have borked up.

    1. I have that Dauntless V6 in my ‘70 Commando. I keep it up at the cabin and usual startup routine involves filling at least one flat tire and beating on the carb with a stick to free the float valve… but otherwise it actually runs/drives well. One of my favorite vehicles.

  10. Early last week, my MINI decided it no longer wanted to hold water. But, luckily this was reserved to only the coolant overflow tank. One aftermarket aluminum reservoir (with integrated sight glass!) and a couple new coolant hoses later and we’re back in business! Oh, and I bought the world’s only 2nd gen MINI oil filter housing relocation kit so that the coolant overflow tank will no longer have to be wrestled out of the way to access the oil filter. That was much more expensive…

  11. Nothing much repairwise on my 2-year-old Honda Fit (for once I timed a major purchase well and bought a new car, a gas-sipper at that, just before the pandemic) but I did get a low-tire-pressure warning that turned out to be a false alarm.

  12. Last weekend was work on my 62 continentals interior…getting ready for this weekends big cruise in I host in Valdosta Georgia, complete with watermelon eating contest!

  13. Finally got the time to open up the engine from my S2 RX-8, and found two broken side-seals and a bit of damage from them bouncing around the housing a bit. Time to start gathering parts to get it all back together

  14. I was trying to figure out an overheating issue on my 68 Dodge Dart GTS. I put in a high flow 180° thermostat, but it’s still wanting to run at 205+ after about 5 miles. The electric fans come on and never go off. It’s got a 4 row aluminum radiator, so 200+ should never happen. I think it’s a timing issue.

    1. Definitely get a second opinion on the temperature – OEM gauges can be thrown off by a lot in old cars, including the condition of your grounds, power loss through the ignition and other relays etc. If its still high with a temperature gun or second measurement at the OEM location, then its time to start chasing issues.

    2. Bad CTS.
      Nope. I don’t even need to do further diagnosis. It’s the coolant temperature sender. (It’s not a sensor. It’s a sender. Specifically it’s a dumb resistive thermocouple.)
      Look, you help restore enough Mopar muscle and happen to have an electrical specialty certification, certain things are just KNOWN. The dash temperature gauge reads +-10 degrees and your coolant temperature sensor will ohm out at “nope.”
      You’re looking for >80 ohms at cold, 32 at 170F, ~13 at 230. You’re reading Test gauge by sticking a 32 ohm <=1W resistor on the CTS. Should be dead center. If gauge reads good, it's confirmed CTS. Purple wire at the bulkhead, no tracer for '68.

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