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Renault prepping new small sedan for 2016

French in-Fluence: Renault Australia has had mixed success with small sedans, with the underwhelming Fluence dropped from the local range last year.

New Renault Megane range to be joined by sedan in 2016, says head engineer

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Renault logo17 Dec 2015

A SENIOR engineer has let slip that a sedan version of the new Megane will break cover in 2016.

Fabrice Garcia, the chief engineer for the new Megane, told Australian journalists at the car’s international launch that a small sedan, based around the dimensions of Renault’s new small car, would break cover in 2016.

“It will not necessarily be called a Megane,” said Mr Garcia, though he indicated it is likely to share vital dimensions like wheelbase and track width with the newly launched Megane five-door hatchback.

Mr Garcia, whose first project with Renault was the very successful Kangoo light-commercial van, indicated that the new sedan – which is likely to replace the ageing Fluence in Europe after being dropped from the local line-up here in 2015 – would break cover in the middle of 2016.

“But I cannot give you details of it yet. It is too soon,” he said at the first drive event in Portugal.

While Mr Garcia would not confirm it, the sedan is likely to be based on the Renault Nissan Alliance’s flexible Common Family Module (CFM) architecture that underpins Megane, the large Talisman sedan and the new Espace people-mover.

Meanwhile, the company has confirmed that there would definitely be no three-door – and as a consequence, no cabriolet – in the Megane range going forward.

Slow sales for the drop-top were cited as the reason for its axing.

“There is no significant market demand for a cabriolet,” said vice president in charge of sales, marketing and communications, Regis Fricotte. “Europe convertible sales have decreased from not a lot to very little. No significant demand makes it not worthwhile to do.”

Renault Australia has sold 117 cabriolets so far in 2015.

Mr Fricotte explained that several factors came into play when it came to the decision not to continue with the three-door body style – not least of which is the success of the latest generation Clio in five-door guise.

“There’s not one single simple answer,” he told Australian journalists. “Look at Clio we went from three- to five-door and it had no (negative) impact on sales.

“Second, we believe it is more efficient for us to develop other body types on the same platform – for example Clio to Captur, or Megane to Koleos. The two together makes a lot more (sales) than Clio three-door and five-door. At the same time, it allows you to have a range that covers the market much better.

“In other words, we’d rather have the number of petrol and diesel engines and both transmission across two body styles to have a very good coverage of a segment. At the end, economically you are better off.” A wagon will join the Megane ranks in the middle of 2016 in Europe, and in 2017 in Australia.

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