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Renault Clio wagon an Aussie no-go

Unloaded: No plans to bring big-boot Clio wagon to Australia on the back of poor light-car diesel sales.

Neither wagon body or diesel engines to join Renault Clio range in Australia

10 May 2013

RENAULT Australia will offer neither diesel-engined or wagon versions of its forthcoming Clio supermini when it surfaces here in August.

The company cites miniscule light-car diesel sales, as well as strong economy and efficiency gains from its all-turbo petrol powerplants, as reasons for its reticence towards the oil-burner.

Renault corporate communications manager Emily Ambrosy revealed that the decision was only made recently, saying that “the petrol engine does fit the demand of the market, Australians are not really buying light-car diesels”.

“Fuel economy tends to be one of the reasons why people go for diesels, and the petrol engines that we have are incredibly efficient,” she said.

We will evaluate demand, and if it exists we will revisit the diesel situation later.”

Meanwhile, the reasoning behind not importing the Clio Estate appear quite different, with Renault Australia admitting they were keen to take it, but were kyboshed by a lack of right-hand drive production.

This follows a global Renault decision not to sell the car in the United Kingdom, prompting the company to shelve right-hook plans.

Ms Ambrosy admitted that Renault’s decision not to make the Clio wagon in right-hand drive was unexpected. “We did express interest for the wagon,” she said.

Back at the Clio’s international unveiling in Paris last September, it had been anticipated that a much wider range of the French supermini was to be made available in Australia.

Nevertheless, the company expects the Clio will become the best-selling Renault in Australia, eclipsing sales of the Koleos compact SUV and Megane small car.

Although it is too early to talk specifics, pricing will be competitive, while the Clio’s strong and emotive design language, high-tech drivetrains with dual-clutch transmission availability, and long list of personalisation options, should resonate with light-car buyers.

“The base model will be priced between Mazda2 and Polo,” she added, maintaining Renault’s position on the subject since GoAuto first drove the car in October last year.

Currently the Mazda 2 Neo manual starts off from $15,790 while the Polo Trendline retails from $16,990 plus on-road costs.

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