The Renault Captur is now not expected to land on local soil until towards the end of the third quarter of 2014, despite having already been delayed until about June, and after having initially being due on sale in the first half of this year.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Hocevar said. “The delay of Captur is a bit frustrating for us.”
Derailed from as far back as the end of last year as a result of preparing the French sub-compact SUV to meet Australian Design Rules (ADRs), Hocevar explains those challenges were presented by the Captur’s sliding track-mounted rear bench seat and its impact on the car’s top tether child seat anchor point.
“That probably put us behind, let’s call it five to six weeks. And then getting ourselves back into our production schedule has been really tough because the worldwide demand on this car has gone ballistic. And in a lot of markets that they probably didn’t perceive it to be as well received.”
Touting its popularity across Europe including its home market in France, Hocevar says even South Korea and Japan “are screaming out for more”.
“It probably means we’re going to end up launching, let’s call it four or five months after our intended launch timing,” he said. “Meanwhile we watch [the Holden] Trax climb to 500 [sales] a month and other newcomers come to the market, so yeah it’s frustrating.”
Putting the Captur’s popularity down to its styling, versatility, customisation possibilities, minimal weight penalty compared with its base car and notably its Clio-sourced turbocharged 1.2-litre TCe four-cylinder powerplant and six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, Hocevar says pricing for the raised city car will be on-par with the likes of the $23,490 Trax, $20,790 Ford EcoSport and $21,990 Peugeot 2008.
“It will be competitive in market both in terms of specifications and outright price,” Hocevar said. “We’re very happy with where we’ve got it priced.
“I think when we finally get it here for the light SUV party it will be very popular. I don’t think it’s going to surpass Clio sales – the segment’s not that big yet – but certainly if it keeps trending the way it is, who knows where it’ll go.”
First revealed at the Geneva motor show in January 2013, the Renault Captur launched internationally four months later in May that year.