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Renault to pitch Alaskan as a semi-premium offering

Trading up: The Renault Alaskan will be pitched as a more premium offering than the mechanically-related Nissan Navara.

Navara-based Renault Alaskan ute to be pitched to older buyers, not tradies


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22 Feb 2017

RENAULT Australia says it will pitch its forthcoming Alaskan ute as a semi-premium offering to avoid cannibalism of the mechanically related Nissan Navara that is marketed as a tradie-friendly workhorse.

Instead it will be pitched at an older demographic that are more likely to use the Alaskan as a recreational and towing vehicle, and it will do battle with the likes of the Volkswagen Amarok.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the Trafic Crew and Kangoo turbo-petrol, Renault Australia light-commercial vehicles (LCV) senior model line manager Lyndon Healey said marketing the Alaskan as a semi-premium ute would ensure it fits above the Navara and below the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class, all of which share the same underpinnings.

“It’s a (Nissan-Renault) alliance product built on their platform, Navara is a very important part of their model range and I think we’ve got a plan that is sufficiently different to theirs, that both models can live together,” he said.

“We’re not interested in chasing big fleets, for example. We’ll want to get older people who’ll want to tow a boat around – if you get people who are over 60ish, a lot of them have previous Renault experience back when Renault was here in the 60s and 70s so they’re reasonably familiar with who Renault are, so we’ll be chasing an older demographic than what Nissan are.

“We’ve tossed around some ideas about what that product might look like and how it could be different from the Nissan product, and I think we’ve got enough room to move that we can come up with a value proposition that will be different enough from Nissan that we can both live in the same market, and not steal their market, which is an important thing.”

The Alaskan will use Renault’s 2.3-litre diesel engine and will likely be equipped with twin turbochargers, as it is in the higher-specced versions of the Master van and Navara.

In the Master it is capable of putting out 120kW/360Nm, while under the hood of the Navara those figures are boosted to 140kW/450Nm.

Mr Healey was unable to provide concrete timing for the Alaskan’s Australian launch due to the lengthy process of preparing the business case, despite Renault’s strong desire to have it here.

He did, however, confirm that the Alaskan is still at least 12 months away from launch.

“Alaskan is 110 per cent a product that we want,” he said.

“There’s a very long process in the Renault world to get a product to market, and this one is complicated by the fact that it’s a shared product between Nissan and Renault.

“There’s a whole heap of milestones we have to get past before we get that product, for example the success of our LCV range is built on the right product and the right specs and features, the right value equation and the right reassurance package.

“If it was our own product, those things we’d have full control over and we could sign away. The reality is that it’s an alliance product, so you’ve got Nissan in there as well – there’s a lot of extra negotiation involved.

“So for us Alaskan is a logical complement to our LCV range because if you think about it, it will sit nicely between our passenger range and LCV range.

He added that Renault Australia’s patience would likely pay off, and the company was not keen to rush the process.

“We want it as soon as we can get it, but we have to make it work for us.

“There’s nothing worse than getting a product that you’re not happy with in some respects be it product, price or reassurance. We’ll get there, but it it’s just a long process.”

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