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Delayed Renault Alaskan pick-up now set for 2020

Waiting game: The Renault Alaskan is still not 100 per cent locked in for Austral;ia, but barring any issues it looks set to touch down by early 2020 at the latest.

Renault Alaskan dual-cab waits in the wings for final ADR touches

19 Sep 2018

RENAULT Australia managing director Andrew Moore has revealed that the Alaskan pick-up is on track for a late-2019 or early-2020 launch Down Under, as the company signs off on various undisclosed Australian Design Rule (ADR) changes before it can officially confirm a local debut.
Mr Moore said the company had worked hard in the past six months to help get the dual-cab pick-up over the line, including a rethink on positioning that highlights its more expensive European sourcing against key competitors such as the Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger.
“The Alaskan we’re looking at is out of Spain where it is currently produced in right-hand drive (RHD), so we’re just working on the case for Australia, and since we last spoke to GoAuto, we’ve progressed significantly,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the Renault Megane RS in Queensland last week. 
“I can’t confirm it at this point, but I feel quite confident that we’ll be able to get that vehicle into Australia. Based on where it is right now, it’ll probably be a stretch to make it into 2019 – maybe late 2019 but early 2020 is more realistic. We still have to tick it off, and even ordering takes six months. There’s still some development around ADR and so forth, but it’s minor development compared to full RHD development.”
Mr Moore added that while previous Renault Australia management had put the Alaskan program on indefinite hold because it was deemed too expensive to compete with mainstream rivals such as the closely related Nissan Navara out of Thailand, under his stewardship, the company has taken a different tack.
This includes adding more equipment, as well as pushing for a host of factory-built or backed accessories that will help justify a loftier price at the higher end of the segment against the best-selling Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
“Similar to the Kadjar (SUV that has just been confirmed for Australia mid next year), it’s more about my confidence in the product and strategy approach that is different (from previous Renault Australia management),” Mr Moore explained.
“Obviously, being sourced from Europe means a higher cost than from Thailand, and I think previously (it was decided) that we just cannot compete in the low end. And that’s true – the Alaskan won’t be as cheap. So, what we want to do is differentiate our product, and if you have a look at the pick-up segment, so many of the purchases are high-end image-based purchases. 
“The success of the Ranger is all around the Wildtrak, similar scenario with the Toyota HiLux. We believe the Alaskan, with its European styling, looks terrific, and we’re working heavily with the factory on developing more elements like wheelarch fenders and sports bars to give it a distinct look and distinct image.”
Mr Moore said that if all goes to plan, a two-pronged approach with the low-price Oroch (a proposed car-based Dacia from Brazil) would give Renault blanket coverage of the burgeoning dual-cab pick-up segment, but the latter is still not produced in RHD and would not be available until 2021 at the earliest.
“The idea of the dual pick-up strategy is that customers who want to spend sub-$35,000 have the Oroch, while customers looking for an image-based truck have the Alaskan that has everything,” he said. 
“The spec level of the Alaskan out of Europe will be better than the Navara – but I don’t want to compete with the Navara. I want to compete with the Wildtraks, HiLuxes and Amaroks. 
“It’s a change of strategy that plays on the strengths of the vehicle.”

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