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Renault eyes LCV range expansion

Van plan: Renault will expand its existing LCV line-up with a number of new variants and bodystyles of Trafic and Master on the way.

More models and bodystyles on the way as Renault LCV sales climb

17 Jul 2013

RENAULT Australia is poised to consolidate on its increasingly strong light commercial vehicle sales by expanding its range of local offerings.

A major recent fleet agreement with Australia Post, as well increased advertising and drive-away pricing deals, have helped boost both the profile and sales levels of Renault’s LCV line-up substantially.

The Trafic mid-size van has experienced the biggest boost this year, with a sales increase of 127.3 per cent in the first six months of the year. The larger Master van is up by 60.4 per cent on last year’s results.

The time is ripe for a bigger range of offerings, including models with larger storage and cab chassis configurations, according to Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar.

Both the Trafic and Master ranges will soon expand beyond the existing line-up to include a number of new variants and bodystyles starting this year. Mr Hocevar said the Master alone has 350 potential variations, including larger versions.

“We will be bringing a number of those variants and that will be this year, in fact, not too far down the track we will see crew cabs, cab chassis, rear-wheel drive L3 and L4, we class them in lengths and that is our longest and it is huge,” he said.

“We are also looking at what we call an L1, H1 version of the Master, that is a short-wheelbase, low-roofed version of the Master. That comes a lot closer to the size of Traffic but has a heavier payload capability and it is a bit wider and has a more powerful motor.”The Australian-spec Master has a load volume of 10.3 cubic metres, while the L4 has a load volume capacity of a massive 17 cubic metres.

Earlier this year, Renault Australia signed a fleet contract to be the major supplier for Australia Post, providing vehicles across the country except in regional areas not covered by Renault’s service network.

While the deal is likely to boost local LCV sales for the French car-maker, Mr Hocevar said the deal is not the sole reason behind the spike in Trafic and Master sales, highlighting drive-away pricing and other contributing factors.

“Actually, we have only delivered a very small number so far in the initial batch so that doesn’t represent a big part of it at all,” he said. “From a tactical point of view we took a pretty aggressive approach to Traffic positioning it at $29,990 drive-away.

“For a diesel with that level of equipment, that represents remarkable value and I think at that price point you are normally looking at a Korean-sourced van rather than a European-sourced van and you are probably looking at an older generation petrol motor as opposed to a high-tech diesel.” Mr Hocevar said the Australia Post deal gave Renault’s LCV range significant exposure and has opened Renault up to a number of potential new fleet customers.

The roll out of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) has also boosted Renault’s fleet business, however Mr Hocevar expects this to slow down until after the federal election takes place later this year.

“We fitted out some splicing vans that were really well received and they were doing exceptionally well, but obviously with the political landscape being what it is at the moment, and NBN being one of the most hotly contested topics between Labor and the Coalition, things have gone a little bit quiet there.”Renault’s local dealer network currently consists of 32 outlets, with plans for an expansion to around 40 locations by the end of this year.

Mr Hocevar said Renault is working on ways to better service the needs of LCV customers by providing different options for buying and servicing its commercial products.

“Selling a white box is only one part of the equation. It’s really how well you can offer a customer solution to the end user is what makes and breaks the deal. If I am a plumber or electrician, I need to be able to go into a dealership and say, ‘this is what I need’. And that person should be able to say to me, ‘yep, here is the blank canvas, and now we are going to create the solution for you’.

“We use these people to do the roof bars and these people to do the racking inside, these people to do splicing tables. If you can then have all of that fit out completed in a timely manner and meet customers needs, you are a long way to making a sale compared to a competitor,” he said.

Mr Hocevar said he would like to see dedicated LCV staff, facilities and point-of-sale information incorporated into Renault dealerships down the track, as well as more flexible servicing hours.

“If it’s your tool of trade and you need it during your typical business hours, you need a servicing solution that’s outside of that. We have been working with some dealers to come up with some clever ideas there.”

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