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Future models - Renault - Ute

Renault bosses confirms ute 'on the radar'

Tray chique: It’s unclear what platform Renault might use for ute, but the Nissan Navara seems most logical choice.

Details still under wraps but Renault Australia keen to add ute to local roster

4 Feb 2015

RENAULT Australia is actively working on a business case that could see the double-diamond logo adorn the nose of a locally sold ute.

Speaking to GoAuto this week, managing director of Renault Australia Justin Hocevar said that senior Renault management officials had discussed the possibility of a shared-platform utility, and that the local arm is already working on the business model to bring the ute to Australia.

“It’s not a long way down the road,” said Mr Hocevar. “It is on the radar. No timeline has been communicated, but it has been mentioned by a couple of senior execs inside the company.”

Any ute product would have a wide range of potential markets around the world besides Australia and south-east Asia.

“South America, the Middle East and even some southern European markets will be important,” noted Mr Hocevar, “as well as northern Africa.”

As to the vehicle’s origins, Mr Hocevar cast doubts on reports that the ute would be based on Nissan’s recently revealed D23 Navara.

“There have been announcements around a shared platform utility – it’s a shared product, but not necessarily that,” he said, when asked whether the Navara is the potential platform source.

“It’s not necessarily what you said.” He would not be drawn on what alternative platform may be used, or what configurations the new ute might be offered in.

Mr Hocevar was more forthcoming about the potential of the Renault-badged ute joining an expanded SUV line-up in Australia.

“It’s something that we’d like to see in the Renault line-up here,” he confirmed, “and we’re working on the business case.”

As GoAuto previously reported, Mr Hocevar believes the Renault ute would not be a threat to the Nissan Navara's sales.

Other platform sources for the Renault ute could include the CMF (Common Modular Family) platform that unederpins Renault-Nissan Alliance products including the X-Trail and forthcoming Renault Kadjar.

Engines could potentially include Nissan’s VR38DETT 3.0-litre V6 petrol and the 2.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel currently in use in the Koleos.

Renault would join Volkswagen as the only the second European marque to offer a ute in Australia. Most light-commercial utes sold here hail from Thailand, and include the top-selling Toyota HiLux, Ford's increasingly popular Ranger, the Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Triton and the Mazda BT-50.

Last year, 41,807 4x2 utes and 133,566 4x4 utes were sold in Australia, a drop of 6.7 and 3.3 per cent respectively, while the overall light-commercial segment made up a 17.8 per cent share of the entire new-car market.

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