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Renault to boost dealer network

Latest addition: The facelifted Koleos compact SUV is the most recent change to the burgeoning Renault Australia line-up.

More dealerships for resurgent Renault, with New South Wales the first target

Renault logo1 Dec 2011

RENAULT Australia has announced plans to significantly bolster the size of its dealer network as it seeks to build on the strong sales growth it has enjoyed in 2011.

As GoAuto has reported in detail (see separate Market Insight story linked below), Renault is currently the fastest-growing major automotive brand in Australia, with sales up 89.8 per cent to the end of October.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said earlier this week that the brand’s current line-up of 20 dealers was insufficient, especially when compared to fellow niche players Skoda, Peugeot and Volvo – all of which have more dealers nationally.

Mr Hocevar cited Sydney as the region most in need of attention, saying that having only three dealer points in a city of five million people was “desperately inadequate to effectively reach Australia’s biggest market”.

“We are aware that we need to improve our dealership coverage, particularly in Sydney and NSW, and this is something that we have been working tirelessly on this year,” he said.

Renault used ‘gravity modelling’ to determine how far its buyers would be willing to travel to purchase a vehicle, which indicated that approximately 80 per cent would be prepared to travel up to 15 kilometres from their home.

 center imageLeft: Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar.

Based on this data, Mr Hocevar said that more than two-thirds of Sydney’s population “does not have an authorised Renault dealer within reasonable proximity to where they live”.

“To use a simple analogy, we need to fish where the fish are.”

Mr Hocevar said the first step in its expansion would be the creation of a new dealership to be called Sydney City Renault, which will cover the central business district of Australia’s largest city.

As the brand’s new Australian flagship facility, it will cover approximately 2500 square metres and will be located less than three kilometres from Sydney airport in a prime automotive precinct.

Renault also plans to partner with a new retailer in the city’s highly-populated inner-west, which is “disproportionately high in European vehicle sales”.

“With a new location and new operator in the final stages of approval with our Paris head office, this will significantly improve our support of Sydney’s inner-west,” said Mr Hocevar.

He said the brand would also shortly commit to an operation in Wollongong, and that retail operations would commence in Gosford, Parramatta and Sutherland during 2012.

Plans are also afoot to boost the number of dealerships in other states.

Queensland will eventually see new dealerships in Brisbane and Toowoomba, while the brand will “re-ignite” in Tasmania, where it currently has just one dealer.

The French marque will also look to regional Victoria, which Mr Hocevar called a “blank canvas”, with at least three major towns as “likely targets for representation”.

However, Mr Hocevar said Renault would be careful to avoid saturating the market with too many dealerships for its still relatively modest sales levels.

“Our plans for sufficient coverage will not have us on every street corner.

“There are defined retail precincts across Australia and these will form the obvious targets for us to occupy.

“This is an important story to tell, to impress upon the market that Renault really is serious about its long-term future in Australia and backing it up with an extensive network.

“The brand deserves it, the customers deserve it, and the management team here is absolutely committed to delivering these promises to take Renault to a new level of presence in the Australian market place.”

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