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Future models - Renault - Megane

Renault makes a price point

Less polarising: MkIII Megane hatch eschews its predecessor's cheeky rear for safer Laguna styling cues.

New Megane set to come here priced from only $21K, but still more than a year away

8 Oct 2008

By DAVID HASSALL in PARIS

RENAULT aims to launch the new-generation Megane small car in Australia with a more competitive starting price of $20,990 – some $4000 less than the current model and in line with the segment-leading Toyota Corolla.

While the entry-level Megane will be a low-spec offering like its rivals, Renault Australia is determined it will not compromise on safety and intends fitting electronic stability control and a full array of airbags as standard.

It will be launched in Australia in late 2009 or (more likely) early 2010 as a five-door hatchback with an 81kW 1.6-litre petrol engine and a six-speed manual gearbox.

The third-generation Megane, which made its global debut at the Paris motor show late last week in five-door hatch and three-door coupe body styles, has been widely praised as one of the stars of the show.

Although the Spanish and French-built Megane will go onto the European market in November, the cheaper “international” version that is coming to Australia – which will be sourced from Turkey, South Korea or South America – will not go into production until around the second quarter of 2009.

35 center imageHaving lost its alienating large rump, the bigger new Megane is now distinctive without being polarizing and promises to be the breakthrough small car that Renault Australia has lacked in recent years.

Renault Australia’s product planning chief Christophe di-Perna, who is negotiating supply and pricing for Megane and had further discussions with head office in Paris last week, told GoAuto that he is keen to get the car to Australia as soon as possible.

Mr di-Perna said that the larger size of the new Megane made it ideal for the Australian market and would help the company reach a volume level that will finally secure its place in this country – between 5000 and 7000 units.

Although Renault has been running at only about 3000 sales annually, the recently-launched Koleos compact SUV will add significant volumes while the new Megane is expected to build on the current rate (1116 units last year).

In addition to the obvious advantage of a much lower entry price for the next model, Mr di-Perna believes that a new 77kW 1.5-litre turbo-diesel model (available with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions) will appeal to economy-conscious small car buyers.

As well as the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel models, the new Megane will also be available with a pair of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units – the diesel only with an automatic transmission while the petrol will come with either a manual or CVT (continuously variable transmission).

There will ultimately be a total of six Megane variants launched in Europe over the next two years, with the three-door hatchback, wagon, convertible and Scenic to join the five-door hatch and three-door coupe versions rolled out in Paris.

The coupe will come to Australia as a well-equipped sports model.

At 4.3 metres in length, the five-door Megane is about 90mm longer than the current model and rides on a 2640mm wheelbase (up 15mm).

Read more:

First look: Megane MkIII - no butts about it


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