Australian buyers will have to wait to get their hands on Renault’s first entry into the competitive ute segment with senior management confirming at the Paris motor show the eagerly-anticipated Alaskan pick-up has not been confirmed for Australia. Yet.
Gilles Normand, Renault’s Asia-Pacific chairman admitted it was being considered for local release but stressed no decision had been made.
“It’s on the table, but there is no decision at this point,” he said. “For the time being, there is nothing announced for Asia-Pacific.”
Renault Australia’s managing director Justin Hocevar added the Alaskan was a key vehicle for the brand’s future in Australia but also admitted no decision had been taken on the ute’s Australian future despite this country being a natural market for the dual-cab utility.
Hocevar stressed, however, he was keen to see the Alaskan in Renault showrooms in Australia.
“Until you’ve got the final contract, nothing’s confirmed,” said Hocevar. “Renault Australia definitely wants the vehicle.”
“It is a very competitive segment but we’ve been doing all the right things to set ourselves well up for it,” he added. “And here’s where I turn to that new network [of dealers] we’ve built and the skills that they have, the focus we’ve had on building our light commercial vehicles, or vans, or derivatives of the vans.
“We’ve already established very good clients in that regards. We know at the moment there is a number of them that would take, in addition to the vans they already have in their fleet, the 4×4 or 4×2 pick-up. So there is already an immediate opportunity there for us.”
Hocevar acknowledged the highly competitive segment the Alaskan wuld potentially enter into in Australia but also believed Renault was well-placed to meet the segment head-on.
“It’s too early to talk about the detail of the Australian model but I would say, first and foremost is the design, the style. Thats is certainly something I think we could turn to. I think we’ve got a very strong design, to start off with,” he said.
“And secondly will be how we package and present the price, the vehicle for market and of course, what will always be a critical part for us is what is the total cost of ownership factors.”
Renault’s Alaskan ute is based on the Nissan NP300 Navara and will be built in Argentina. It’s understood, although not confirmed, several South American markets are in line to receive the Alaskan first.