The slinky Renault Grand Scenic MPV is still a chance to come to Australia, after more positive indications came out of the company’s local division this week.
Launched in May this year, the chic five- and seven-seater Grand Scenic people-mover brings some glamour to a dowdy corner of the market, alongside its fellow French offering, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.
And while Renault Australia has been reticent to import niche offerings here of late, instead focusing on profitable core models such as the Clio, Megane, Koleos and Trafic, the company’s local division might be willing to make an exception.
Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar built on recent statements around the Grand Scenic this week, saying it remained a car of interest.
“With regards to Grand Scenic, yeah we are quite interested in that,” he said. “It’s not a big segment but [at the same time] there’s not a lot of players in the segment.
“That’s a vehicle that is still on our radar. It’s not confirmed but we are working on it.”
Hocevar cited the small van market where Renault sells the Kangoo, a low-volume car that nevertheless owns 30 per cent market share with 642 sales this year. However, he remained cautious.
“We’ve tried to move away from niche positioning, there’s lot of burden there, the complexity and investment, working capital tied up and so on. We’d like to focus on the core. Having said that, if there’s a viable business case we will consider it.”
The Grand Scenic would enter a people-mover market performing well, up 15.5 per cent this year. However, the market share of these vehicles is just 1.1 per cent. Large SUV sales are more than 10-times greater. Just 81 Citroen Grand C4 Picassos have been sold, fewer than Lamborghini.
The Renault Grand Scenic measures 240mm longer than the regular Scenic, at 4630mm, with a 66mm longer wheelbase (2800mm). The ‘Grand’ variant also boasts a 765-litre boot for the five-seat version, marking an additional 63 litres over its smaller sibling.
Other features in the new Grand Scenic include Active Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection – Renault claims a first-in-segment – the company’s 8.7-inch R-Link infotainment system, a full-colour heads-up display, and 20-inch wheels (another claimed segment first).
The Grand Scenic is also available with the choice of four diesel and two petrol variants, plus a hybrid, and either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
Renault Australia has previously offered both the Scenic and Grand Scenic locally, however the last time we saw either model here was when the Scenic was axed from the local line-up in 2009.
Are you shopping for a people-mover at the moment and don’t want a Carnival or Tarago? Would the Renault float your boat? Tell us below.