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Korean sedans won’t get knife, says Renault Oz

Still here: Renault says it has no plans to get rid of the Korean-built Fluence small sedan, even though it has sold just 49 units in the past six months.

Renault Fluence and Latitude set to struggle on, despite dwindling sales impact

Renault logo25 Jul 2014

RENAULT Australia says it plans to stick by its slow-selling South Korean-sourced sedans, the Fluence and Latitude, even though they have contributed less than 100 sales between them to Renault’s 4380 local sales in the first half of this year.

With just 49 sales, the Fluence small sedan is down 52 per cent on its volume in the same period last year, while the mid-sized Latitude has gone just one better – 50 sales to the end of June – which represents a 63 per cent fall on 2013.

By comparison, sales of the Spanish-built Renault Megane hatch are up 88 per cent, to 844 sales in the first half, while the new Clio light hatchback is the brand’s top seller, with more than 1000 sales in the six months to the end of June.

Total Renault sales have rocketed 52.5 per cent, with even its van range making a major contribution, up 70 per cent.

The Fluence and Latitude are among three models sourced from Renault Samsung Motors, the other being the Koleos medium SUV.

Even the Koleos has suffered this year, with sales down 37.8 per cent to 535 units, giving it just one per cent share of its segment.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told GoAuto that the Koleos was one of three core passenger car models in Renault’s local range, along with Megane and Clio, and as such would get its fair share of the company’s marketing efforts.

 center imageFrom top: Renault Koleos and Latitude.



“It is down a little bit this year, but I would say by the end of this year, we will be back in a very similar position to where we were at the end of 2013, if not slightly better,” he said.

“We had a bit of a slow start, but we have some good activities in place that have seen it recover.”

Koleos is due for a full make-over in 2016 when it is expected to get an all-new body based on Renault Nissan Alliance’s new modular architecture that already underpins the new Qashqai, X-Trail and – from next year – the Renault Espace replacement.

Mr Hocevar said the Fluence and Latitude were what he would describe as “market coverage products” – cars that make sure Renault at least has a presence in a segment.

“Our two sedans in C (small) and D (medium) segments are really market coverage for us,” he said. “Those segments are probably best described as a bloodbath.

They are so competitive, it is just not funny.

“And there are some other manufacturers that rely very heavily upon the volume they achieve from those segments – fleet, rental business.

“It is very much low-yielding business, and it costs a lot of variable marketing expense to compete.

“We have essentially pegged back our expectations on those vehicles to be ...

let’s call it organic volume, natural demand that comes both from some retail business through our retail network and a few small fleet customers that we have.

“We are happy to continue doing that, and put our commercial means behind our core products.

“They are the ones we want to get mainstream volume with, rather than expensing a high degree of commercial means upon C and D segment sedans.”

The Fluence – based on the Megane – is sold in two specifications, starting with the Dynamique at $23,143 plus on-road costs.

The bigger Latitude – which competes against the segment-leading Toyota Camry and Mazda6 – is sold in 3.5-litre V6 petrol and 2.0-litre diesel guises, priced from $37,490.

Of the sales success stories among the Renault offerings, all come from either Europe – including Spain – or Turkey.

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