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Renault gets serious with Sydney

Sign of the times: Renault’s latest dealership livery has been applied to Bryan Byrt Renault in the Brisbane suburb of Mount Gravatt.

Three new dealerships set to expand Renault sales footprint in Sydney

Renault logo28 Aug 2012


RENAULT is stepping up its dealer representation in New South Wales, with three major new sites in various stages of development in Sydney.

The French brand had only three dealerships covering Australia’s largest city, but has now increased that to four with more to come.

One of the current Sydney dealerships, Sydney City Renault, is building a new flagship dealership at Alexandria, just south of the Sydney CBD, while two new franchises are being planned to fill open points at Leichardt, in the inner west, and Sutherland Shire, to the south.

Nationally, the company has also culled a number of dealerships that did not meet its retail strategy criteria or minimum standards, and has set about appointing new outlets.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told GoAuto that Renault had 23 dealerships when he started with the company two years ago.

He said that the list had shrunk to 17, but by the start of this year it was back up to 19, and now stands at 25.

“We are quite confident we will be at 30 by year’s end,” he said.

 center imageFrom top: Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar Bryan Byrt Renault dealership.

Mr Hocevar said a lot Renault’s dealer network focus had been on NSW, where the brands had been “really under-represented”.

“We are now up to four opened in Sydney, and we have franchise agreements for another three underway,” he said, adding that major regional centres of NSW had also received attention.

“We have already opened Wollongong, we have already opened Gosford and we have franchise agreements signed for Newcastle and Port Macquarie.”

In Queensland, a flagship site at Mount Gravatt has been opened by Bryan Byrt, dressed in Renault’s latest livery.

The same signage has been applied to a number of showroom refurbishments around the country, including the Essendon dealership in Melbourne’s north-western suburbs.

Sydney City Renault has been operating from a site at Waterloo, near the CBD, for six years, but has started construction of an all-new dealership in O’Riordan St, Alexandria – a prime location favoured by several of Sydney’s major dealers, between the CBD and Sydney Airport.

That dealership is expected to open late this year or early 2013.

The Leichardt dealership proposal has been submitted for town planning approval and, all being well with the application, construction should start on the site in the final quarter of this year for an anticipated opening in late 2012 or early 2013.

In Melbourne, the Mentone Renault dealership has been discontinued, with a new outlet under new ownership just opened further up the Nepean Highway at Brighton – one of the country’s most prolific new-car sales strips.

The dealership is in temporary premises next to Brighton Honda while a new site for a permanent location is sought.

Mr Hocevar said Renault had had a difficult time in the Australian market over the years, and dealers had to endure tough times.

“Some of them elected not to continue,” he said. “We also had some partners that did not fit our representation strategy and therefore we had to find a way to part company with them.”

Mr Hocevar said Renault was now offering profitable, sustainable growth.

“We have taken the approach with our dealer network that we are now very much retail-orientated rather than just pure wholesale orientated,” he said.

“So we work much closer with them in unlocking the potential of each of their PMAs (prime market areas) to ensure they have got a viable business model.

“It is very important that our business partners have that positive growth situation.”

This year, Renault sales are up 30 per cent to the end of July.

The big drivers have been the Megane small car – up 30.9 per cent to 546 units for the first seven months of 2012 – and Koleos medium SUV, which is up 26.6 per cent to 404 units YTD.

In 2013, the arrival of the all-new Clio light car about mid-year will put the importer back in one of the growth segments in Australia.

Renault sells only the Renaultsport RS variant of the Clio, contributing only a trickle of sales to the company’s tally each month.

Mr Hocevar said a broader Clio range would draw new buyers to the brand.

He said his company intended to “loyalise” the Clio owners with customer-focussed programs such as capped-price servicing, five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and 12-month service intervals, thereby keeping them within the brand to move up to other Renault vehicles.

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