Renault has announced big changes to its UK model range in a move aimed at returning Renault’s UK operations to profitability. It appears that Renault UK has been losing money for some years, and its larger models are the main culprit.
Starting in February 2012, Renault will no longer sell the following models in the UK – probably meaning they right-hand drive production of these cars is being wound down:
- Grand Espace
- Kangoo car
- Wind roadster
Renault is also reducing the number of dealers in its UK network by around a third, from 190 to about 135.
One of Renault’s perennial problems in the UK is that the Laguna has never competed successfully with the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Vectra/Insignia – it’s direct competitors. It’s a different story in France, where French brands Renault, Peugeot and Citroen enjoy the same kind of dominance that Ford and Vauxhall have in the UK. It does, however, mean that producing right-hand drive variants of some Renault models no longer makes economic sense.
Renault’s comments suggest that the replacement for the Laguna is unlikely to come to the UK but that the next generation Espace (a once popular UK model that has fallen away against Ford, Vauxhall and VW competition) may be imported to the UK.
For the near-term, Renault is pinning its hopes on three classes of vehicle:
- Smaller cars – Clio, Megane & Scenic
- Electric cars – Renault’s Z.E. (Zero Emission) electric range is due to arrive in the UK next year
- Budget cars – Renault’s Romanian budget brand, Dacia, is arriving in the UK next year
Dacia Launch Prices Confirmed
Renault has confirmed UK launch dates and prices for the Dacia Duster and Dacia Sandero, two successful models from its Romanian budget brand that will be imported to the UK for the first time in 2012.
The Dacia Duster (a medium 4×4) will cost under £10,000 when it goes on sale at the end of 2012, and the Fiesta-class hatchback Sandero model will cost less than £7,000. In line with Dacia’s policy in other markets, there will be no discounting, even for fleet buyers.
Dacia cars will be sold by Renault dealers, with each showroom having a designated area where Dacia cars are on sale.
Renault is hoping that used-car buyers will choose to buy a new Dacia instead, and that some of them will then go on to buy new Renaults in the future.