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Renault Australia is taking a new approach to keeping up with changing buyer patterns with a unique Brand Concept Store at Westfield Hornsby.

The new store, at the major shopping centre in Sydney’s northern suburbs, displays various Renault models in a setting that’s different to your typical (and often intimidating) car dealership.

As Renault Australia points out, shopping centres see a significant amount of foot traffic and people are naturally in shopping mode. Thus, this toe-in-the-water decision.

The Renault Concept Store has room for five vehicles — in this instance the just-launched Koleos crossover and Megane hatch, alongside the Clio RS hot hatch, Captur crossover and Trafic commercial van.

There will also be information on the heritage of the brand including its current involvement in Formula One, while you’ll also be able to organise on-the-spot test drives.

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“Renault understands that purchasing behaviour is changing and the automotive sector needs to keep pace with this change,” said Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar.

“People want to engage with brands on their terms and shop as and when they choose, and Renault aims to be at the forefront of these changing trends.

“The Renault Concept Store provides the opportunity for people to check out our range in a relaxed environment.

“…The concept store idea was developed as we continue to build on the next phase of our brand’s revitalisation in Australia. In order to make the idea a reality, we enlisted the help of one of our current neighbouring dealer business partners.

“We hope to not only grow consideration of the Renault brand but continue to offer something different. We are confident people will embrace it.”

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The Brand Concept Store is the latest initiative from the fast-growing Renault Australia. As we reported last week, the French brand has got its cost-of-ownership numbers down to the levels of better-known Japanese and Korean rivals — and in some cases is superior.

Hocevar has also spoken favourably in the past about establishing an online sales presence for the imminent Alpine sports sub-brand, something already trialled here by Subaru and Smart.

Renault Australia sales sit at a touch over 8000 units this year, meaning it will easily eclipse the 10,000 mark once again, after achieving the figure last year. This year it is the market’s 19th most popular car brand, well ahead of French nemesis Peugeot (2691).

The shopping centre store model is being increasingly adopted by car-makers the world over, with many brands launching them in Asia, Europe and North America (Mercedes Me and BMW’s i stores being just two examples).

Tesla also has a store at Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne, and many other brands have used temporary pop-ups in retail centres, including Holden surrounding the launch of the new Spark hatch earlier this year.

What do you think of the idea behind the Renault Brand Concept Store? Would you prefer to shop for a car in an environment like this — perhaps after swinging by JB HiFi or Myer — instead of going to a conventional dealership? Tell us below.

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