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Renault crashes through

Star performer: The Megane II is likely to be the first small car to achieve a five-star result from Euro NCAP testing.

Crash test results will be used to promote new Renault models, including Megane II

Renault logo4 Sep 2002


RENAULT Australia intends to promote the Euro NCAP results of its new generation Megane II range when it goes on sale in Australia in the second half of 2003.

The decision, which flies in the face of a local industry "gentlemen's agreement" to ignore independent crash testing results, would follow on from the company's promotion of the mid-size Laguna as the first car to achieve a five-star result.

But the Megane II result would be all the more laudable as it wouldlikely be the first small car to achieve the five-out-of-five result.

However, the extent to which Renault Australia pushes the result will depend on the specifics of the Euro NCAP testing, including which Megane II model is crash tested.

RA has been cautious in its promotion of the Laguna result because the crash test model was a 1.8-litre left-hand drive. In Australia, until this week's launch of the 2.0-litre Laguna, only the 3.0-litre V6 has been sold and, obviously, only in right-hand drive.

"We have to legally and ethically be careful what we say. We can't make claims that we can't substantiate and which aren't true," said RA director Richard Wilson.

"The ethical thing is very important, we wouldn't want to go out and mislead people.

"If they tested a 1.4 left-hand drive (Megane II) and nothing else we would be just as careful. If they actually test a right-hand drive 2.0, well fantastic."Mr Wilson also confirmed that independent crash test result promotion of future models would not be restricted to Megane II, a significant statement considering the Vel Satis luxury car is scheduled for here late in the first half of 2003 and the new generation Espace people-mover later in the year - if pricing negotiations bear fruit.

"If we have done it (crash test result promotion) with Laguna, we would not turn around and say we are not going to do it with any other model if it fulfilled the same criteria," Mr Wilson said.

But he also cautioned that Renault Australia would not solely concentrate on the promotion of safety results for new models.

"To me, the real benefit of Renault is that it's an overall package," Mr Wilson said.

"They have devoted billions of dollars to safety, but they have also devoted enormous amounts of money to performance - and not moving away from their sporting heritage. I think there's a big danger that you get a bit seduced by the safety story and go only one way - and we don't want to do that."


RENAULT is on target to hit 5000 sales in 2002 and is aiming for 6000 in 2003 as it extends its range into more market segments.

Here's what's coming, with approximate timing and comments from Renault Australia director Richard Wilson.

Vel Satis - luxury car
Mid-year, as a single model 3.0-litre V6
"We won't be looking to sell a lot, but I think it is important to have it because it is so typically Renault - the innovation and the daring philosophy. My guess is you're looking at around $80,000."Megane II - small car
Mid second-half, 3-door and 5-door
"There is no doubt the styling is going to cause a polarisation of public opinion, but I think that is a good thing. The car is going to be looked at and there are a lot of people who want to drive cars that are going to be looked at."Espace - full-size people-mover
Second half - as single 3.0-litre V6 long-wheelbase seven-seater
"It will sell to affluent people with young families and also some sales to the tourist and fleet market. It will compete with the (Chrysler) Voyager, which puts it at around $70,000. If we can't get it there, then it can't come in."Trafic - light commercial vehicle
Mid-year, 1.25 tonne van available with the choice of 1.9-litre turbo-diesel and 2.0-litre petrol engines
"It's won light commercial vehicle of the year in Europe - and it went almost straight away to being best selling van in Europe."2004:
  • Master - light commercial vehicle
  • Kangoo - light commercial vehicle
  • Rest of Megane range - sedan, cabriolet
  • Five and seven-seat Scenic replacement
  • RX4 replacement
One car missing from this list is the updated hyper-performance Clio Renault Sport V6, which is unveiled later this year in updated form, probably at the Paris motor show: "At the moment it's not a goer because the price is all wrong. It would be our most expensive car," Mr Wilson said.

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