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‘No chance’ for future Renault Clio RS manual
Low manual volume means next-gen Renault Clio RS will remain dual clutch only
20 Sep 2018
RENAULT Sport has confirmed that the next-generation Clio RS due in about 2020 will stick with a dual-clutch automatic transmission as hot-hatch buyers continue to move away from manual gearboxes.
Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the Megane RS in Queensland last week, Renault Sport head of international sales Jean Calcat also confirmed that the proposed current-generation Clio RS manual – as revealed in the RS 16 Concept from 2016 – was revealed too late to come to market.
“The Clio RS will never be manual again,” he said, agreeing with the statement that the market does not ‘even care’.
“If you look at the numbers, we roughly sold the same number of Clio IV RS that we did Clio III RS, except we didn’t sell them in the same markets. In a manual market like UK, it was not very well received, but in other markets its reception was just great, such as in Japan, where it works very well. So that’s compensation.
“Now, the product is reaching the end of its lifespan, so we will not invest with going with a manual gearbox. The ideal car would have been the Clio 16 Concept, and we really looked at producing it in small quantities like we did with the Clio V6.
“Our managing director Patrice Ratti really wanted to market the car, but at the end of the day, we had to accept the fact from the pure profitability standpoint it didn’t make any sense.
“Had it come two years before, we would have been able to sell the numbers that justify going into full production, but the car was shown only in 2016.”
Mr Calcat said it made more sense to offer the Megane RS with both a manual and automatic transmission (the latter is dubbed EDC for efficient dual clutch in Renault-speak) given its broader appeal.
“So, the (question is) will we ever have a Clio RS with the manual transmission – the answer is no. But we did invest in the Megane RS manual … and we decided Megane is a broader product offer worldwide.
“In some markets like Australia, Megane is considered a very compact car, but in Europe it is still considered the right size. This is why we said if we are going to invest in two transmissions, then let’s do it with the Megane – there’s more potential.”
Built to celebrate Renault Sport’s 40th anniversary and a return to Formula One racing, the Clio RS 16 Concept was revealed at the 2016 Monte Carlo Grand Prix.
The standard 147kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo was swapped out for the 201kW/360Nm 2.0-litre F4RT unit from Renault’s Megane RS275 Trophy-R, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual. It remains the only production Clio IV RS with that transmission.
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