Renault is the latest carmaker to succumb to the pressures of the global economic crisis, announcing this week a massive 78% drop in profits - down to $769 million - as well as a 4% drop in global sales. Speaking at the profit warning press conference, CEO Carlos Ghosn described the economic situation as a “profound crisis” and conceded that “drastic actions” will need to be taken.

Renault’s single priority for the year ahead is to aim for positive free cash flow and to achieve this management is considering dropping several models or replacing them with cheaper alternatives. One of the likely victims is the midsize Laguna, which will reportedly be culled at the end of its current product cycle in roughly three years.

Other models likely to be axed include the Espace MPV and Vel Satis tourer, according to Auto Motor and Sport. Instead, Renault will look at adding a new hybrid vehicle to its lineup as well as source a low-cost sedan based on the Nissan Maxima platform and manufactured by its South Korean partner Samsung.

Renault is also expected to use the former Espace and Vel Satis production lines to start build a new range of commercial vehicles from as early as next year.