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Renault Megane won’t mirror Koleos value

Nearly here: The forthcoming Megane line-up will be topped by a GT variant when it arrives next month.

Spanish-made Megane cannot match budget Renault pricing for Koleos

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Renault logo5 Sep 2016

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

A NEW four-tier Renault Megane line-up will launch in Australia next month with Life, Zen, GT-Line and GT variants now confirmed exclusively to GoAuto, however the small hatchback will not follow the aggressive pricing structure of its new Koleos SUV stablemate as it abandons a low-$20,000 entry ticket.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the Koleos in northern New South Wales last week, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar admitted that while the car-maker pushed hard to bring its new medium SUV in from $30,000, a circa-$20,000 push – the equivalent typical entry price in the small-car segment – would not apply to Megane.

“I don’t think it makes sense for us to play in that ($20,000) part of the market,” Mr Hocevar said, arguing that few buyers purchased the outgoing Megane Authentique manual when it was priced from around $21,000 driveaway.

“We wouldn’t have had many (outgoing models) at that price point, it would be only a few that popped into the dealer network at maybe demo pricing and it would be very difficult for us to get there (with the new model).”

Mr Hocevar spruiked the benefits of the South Korean free-trade agreement (FTA) in assisting Renault Australia to import the Koleos at such a competitive price. However, he conceded the same could not apply with the new-generation Spanish-built Megane.

“From a price point of view and the way we’ve tried to specify the vehicles it will be too difficult for us (to get to $20,000) so we’d end up with a de-contented car that is not what customers are looking for in a European car,” he said.

Mr Hocevar also argued that an aggressive small-car pricing strategy was the reserve of a small number of rivals, but he confessed such moves were creating “stress” in more than one segment.

“If we talk about something like 28 vehicles in C-segment hatchback there’s only at the moment two or three that are really up (in volume) and in particular the Korean brands,” Mr Hocevar continued.

“You’ve seen the price points, so clearly that is creating a lot of tension and stress on that segment, it’s maybe pulling some buyers out of other segments and we’ve seen light (cars) hit hard this year (because) if you’ve got a C-segment car in B-segment pricing, I think there’s a lot of attraction there for customers.”

However, Mr Hocevar also believed that history was a good guide for new Megane given the most popular model of the outgoing range was the $25,000-plus semi-sporting GT-Line hatchback.

He confirmed that while the GT-Line would transition to the new model with a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, and sit above Life and Zen entry models with the same engine, the even higher-spec Megane GT with a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder was expected to snare a healthy portion of sales.

“We think we’ll have a really rich mix of the GT variant, which will be into the high-thirty (thousand-dollar bracket) and so on,” Mr Hocevar said.

“GT-Line has always been our biggest seller in Megane, that will probably continue and then with regards to the Zen and Life variants, I would say as you come down the model range so will the sales volumes.

“It may be a little bit more GT-Line then GT, but the jury’s out on that for us, the GT is a very nice car to drive.”

It is the first time that Life and Zen model grades have been confirmed to mirror that of the just-released Koleos, although GoAuto understands the equivalent flagship Intens would not feature given the role of the GT-Line and GT.

Following next month’s Megane hatchback launch, a wagon and sedan are due during the first half of next year while Megane RS will likely return in 2018.

Mr Hocevar also confirmed that while diesel would be ditched for the new model when the full Megane line-up arrives, its sales volume could challenge the Koleos as the brand’s top seller. But, he added, “even then it would be lineball, I’d say.”

The new Koleos is tipped to average 200 sales per month, with Mr Hocevar agreeing with the suggestion the Megane could average about 180 monthly units.

Together the duo could add 4560 sales to the brand’s annual volume, which Mr Hocevar said he expected to rise to 13,200 units in 2017, up 10 per cent on the 12,000 units forecast for 2016.

In 2015 the Megane and Koleos added 2969 sales to a total 11,525-unit haul.

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