RENAULT Australia is aiming to be the most-popular market in the world for its new-gen Megane RS hot hatch, overtaking Germany and its French home market, as the brand looks to secure 600 units for 2019.
Speaking to journalists at Motorclassica in Melbourne, Renault Australia managing director Andrew Moore laid bare his ambition to take the local market from third to first in Megane RS popularity.
“Based on what I am aiming to achieve and what I believe I can get stock-wise of Megane RS this year and into next year, there’s a chance we’ll be the number one market for Megane RS globally,” he said.
“We should get around 50 a month, so we’re saying 600 for next year, and that may put us number one globally.”
Launched just last month in Australia, Mr Moore said interest had been high for Renault’s third-generation small hot hatch, which has carried over post-launch.
“We’ve sold 150 just before launch and we’ve done another 40, and we’ve only had vehicles for test drive in different dealers,” he said.
The new Megane RS is the first time the French hot hatch has been available with an automatic transmission, a six-speed dual-clutch in this case, which Mr Moore expects to outpace the six-speed manual version.
“We’re thinking 60 per cent auto … it’s really hard to put a handle on it because you’ve got your purists and your older owners at the start, so they’re a bit more manual orientated because their previous car was a manual, I think longer term will be 60-70 per cent auto,” he said.
Powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol four cylinder, the Megane RS280 Sport outputs 205kW of power and 390Nm of torque for a zero to 100km/h sprint in just 5.8 seconds in either manual or automatic guise.
However, a more powerful 220kW Megane RS Trophy is mooted for launch in the second half of 2019, which is also expected boost interest.
Torque in the Trophy spec is also raised by 10Nm to 390Nm with the manual, while the dual-clutch automatic gets a 20Nm lift to 400Nm.
Pricing has yet to be revealed for the Megane RS Trophy grade, but expect it to sit above the manual Sport’s $44,990 before on-roads, Sport Cup’s $46,480 and Sport automatic’s $47,490.
The Megane RS Trophy is likely to sit around the $50,000 pricetag that would put it up against the 228kW/400Nm Honda Civic Type R and 213kW/380Nm Volkswagen Golf R.