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Future models - Renault - Ute

Renault adds to Pro+ network

French connection: Renault is laying the infrastructure that will support a growing commercial vehicle portfolio, including a Nissan Navara-based ute, should it come to Australia.

Growing Pro+ dealership network would support Renault ute model

Renault logo7 May 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

RENAULT'S expanding Pro+ commercial vehicle dealership network will total 16 by the end of next year, creating a tailor-made retail and support network for a diamond-badged ute model, should one eventuate.

The Nissan Navara-based Renault pick-up has been chalked for production and has yet to get the green light for Australia, but an burgeoning light-commercial vehicle dealership network in Australia would ease the introduction of the model and increase its profile, according to the car-maker.

Potential for one-tonne utes is high in the Australian market, with most manufacturers keen for a piece of the action, but a majority of the attention is currently taken by Toyota's HiLux.

A Renault-badged model based on Nissan's fresh Navara would add another European offering to the growing segment alongside Volkswagen's Amarok – a main target for the French brand, as well as Mercedes-Benz's forthcoming ute.

Speaking at the launch of its latest commercial vehicle offering – the Trafic – Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said the growing network of Pro+ dealerships would accommodate a ute model if it were to come here.

“If we introduce other products in other segments then that would obviously be a good platform to support it,” he said.

“If you look at what other European brands have got available in the commercial vehicle range, Volkswagen's got three vans and a pick-up. We've got three vans and no pick-up.

“That's a strategic competitor globally so it's going to be nice to be able to play in the competitive suite.”

Renault started rolling out the Pro+ network in July last year and with one outlet complete and two more nearing completion, the introduction is going smoothly, but Mr Hocevar confirmed it would now expand to more than the 10 originally planned.

“By the end of this year we expect to have eight Pro+ dealers operating in five Australian cities, with more than double that number opening by the end of 2016, branching out from capital cities to major provincial centres,” he said.

Mr Hocevar explained that the Pro+ model was not simply a matter of putting up new signs, but would establish a new support structure with homologated contracting suppliers, aftermarket retro-fitters and information sharing via a “social” network.

“We are building on our current strength of 46 dealers nationally and the Pro+ concept will deliver services tailored to the specific needs of LCV customers.

From extended servicing hours, service loan vehicles and a full range of vans and trucks on display at the dealership,” said Mr Hocevar.

“The culmination of all those things and the product portfolio we have now is what Pro+ is all about.

“The light-commercial vehicle business represents a fantastic opportunity for Renault, and having been number one in Europe for 17 years straight, it's a genuine strength of the group and one we plan to continue to leverage here in Australia.”

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