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Renault set for record sales year

Little wonder: The Clio light hatch has become Renault’s top-selling model in Australia, with 1741 units shifted so far this year.

Strong passenger and LCV sales to push Renault beyond 9000 sales in 2014

23 Oct 2014

RENAULT Australia is on track to crack 9000 sales for the first time this year on the back of renewed interest in its passenger vehicles and unprecedented sales of its light-commercial range.

The French car-maker is enjoying a reversal of fortunes in Australia following more than a decade of middling sales that bottomed out in 2010 when it finished the year with just 1907 sales.

From 2003 to 2009 Renault managed to sell between 2400 and 3300 vehicles each year, but following the slump in 2010, that figure lifted to 3622 in 2011 and 5011 in 2012.

Speaking with GoAuto at the local drive of the Twizy and Kangoo ZE electric vehicles, Renault Australia corporate communications and sponsorship manager Emily Fadeyev said the company will smash its previous records in 2014.

“It will be another record year for Renault,” she said. “We will exceed 9000, which is very exciting and is a record for us in recent times but also if we go back to earlier days when we built cars in Australia, that will be our highest selling year ever.”

Renault’s year-to-date sales are sitting at 6899 units, which is a significant 49.7 per cent leap over the same period last year when it had shifted 4665 vehicles.

With three selling months remaining in 2014, the car-maker should have no problem exceeding 9000 sales, averaging about 760 units per month so far this year.

After going on sale in Australia in September last year, the Clio light car has quickly become the brand’s top-selling model with 1741 sold to the end of September.

In Australia, the previous-generation Clio was only sold as a pocket-rocket Renault Sport variant, shifting just a handful a month, but the stylish fourth-gen model is now officially a mainstream offering.

A mid-life facelift that arrived in July has boosted the larger Megane small car range, which is sitting on 1118 units so far this year, up from 840 in the first nine months of 2013.

The lower volume Renault Sport Megane has dipped by 9.7 per cent to 355 sales, while the Convertible is also down by 16.7 per cent with 65 sold this year.

Ms Fadeyev said Renault’s small car line-up is working well together, rather than cannibalising each other’s sales.

“Clio has been a very strong product for us. Megane is doing very well. Megane is working well together with Clio.

“People might come in looking at a Clio and decide that they want the extra size or they might look at a Megane and think a Clio is big enough, so they complement each other.”

Renault’s sole SUV offering, the Koleos, has dipped by 18.5 per cent to 1054 sales to the end of September.

Ms Fadeyev said while the Koleos was a “strong” offering, it struggles to get attention in the busy compact SUV segment against the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

“Koleos has been doing reasonably well. It is probably one of the most crowded segments in Australia. It is sustained volume. We would probably like to see it do a little bit more than it currently is.

“One of Koleos’ challenges is awareness. We have a strong product but there are so many competitors in that segment. People’s shopping lists are already enormous. We need to make sure we are building awareness of that vehicle to get it onto that shopping list.” The Koleos went on sale in September 2008 with a facelift arriving in late 2011, but despite being one of the older offerings in the segment, Ms Fadeyev said the next-gen version would not arrive until 2016.

The second-gen version is likely to be built using the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s modular architecture that underpins the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail SUVs.

Light-commercial business is also booming for Renault in Australia, with double-digit growth for the Trafic and Master vans and triple-digit growth for the Kangoo helping boost overall sales.

Renault is not faring so well with its small and mid-size sedans, the Fluence and Latitude.

Just one Fluence was sold last month and year to date, sales are down by 36.5 per cent with only 80 finding homes.

Of all the vehicles in the small cars under $40,000 segment that are still on the market, only Citroen’s low-volume DS4, Proton Suprima S and Persona have shifted fewer units than the Fluence this year.

Things are even worse for the Latitude mid-sizer, which is down by 69 per cent to 63 sales this year – including three in September – placing it behind every other car in its segment.

Ms Fadeyev said replacements for its passenger sedan range were “too far away” to talk about.

In July, Renault's Australia managing director told GoAuto that despite slow sales, the company would continue to offer the two sedans to ensure it had “market coverage” in the busy segments.

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