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Renault Australia’s dealers are “extremely excited” by the prospect of getting their hands on a dual-cab ute to rival the Volkswagen Amarok within 18 months, says the company’s local managing director Justin Hocevar.

The Renault Alaskan (that’s the name expected to apply to the production model) was revealed in June, and will roll into global markets starting with South America. Typically, Australia will have to wait, until the end of 2017 at the earliest.

As we know, the Renault Alaskan is based on the NP300 Navara from global alliance partner Nissan, giving it a proven platform with name recognition to market from and a superior parts distribution network to leverage.

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Nevertheless, the French brand’s fast-growing Australian division is gearing up for the boom in sales a genuine dual-cab lifestyle workhorse promises to provide. Remember, one-in-six vehicles sold in Australia is a ute.

Almost half of Renault’s local sales this year are light commercials already, so it has reason to hope. Furthermore, its national Pro+ network is geared up to service fleets and commercial clients better than many brands of similar scale.

“Australia is still very much part of the global rollout,” Hocevar told us recently. “The dealer network is right across it, obviously it’s been a critical point in terms of appointing new dealers, we need to build a network, not only for [Alaskan] but also for our broader LCV range.”

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“… Our dealers are extremely excited, they’ve seen the vehicle, we’ve taken them there, they know what the finished product looks like and they have an indication of how we want to position and specify the line-up, and they’ve worked with us as well.”

It appears that Renault will only offer highly specified dual-cab 4×4 versions of the Alaskan to compete with the Amarok, Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Toyota HiLux SR5 at the high-yield end of the market.

“I think that certainly when we go to launch the vehicle, we need to consider where do we have a right to play, where do private and fleet customers expect us to play? We probably don’t have as much interest in pursuing the entry end of the market.”

Are you excited about the prospect of a Renault ute offering?

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