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by Tim Beissmann

Renault has today confirmed the Renault Fluence small sedan will arrive in Australia in the final quarter of 2010 in a push to increase the brand’s price competitiveness.

The Fluence is 4.62m long, 1.81m wide and 1.48m tall with a wheelbase of 2.7m (which makes it, for comparison’s sake, 2cm longer and wider than a Holden Cruze), and claims to offer more passenger space than other major rivals in its current markets.

It has been on sale in Romania, Russia and Turkey since last November. It is currently manufactured by Renault in Bursa, Turkey, with production to expand to Korea under the Renault-Samsung partnership.

Renault Australia managing director, Rudi Koenig, said new vehicle will be “very competitively priced and specified” in the small sedan segment.

“The new sedan will be a Renault; it just won’t come out of France. It will be a brand new product and it won’t be called a Mégane because we want to differentiate – because the sourcing will be different – between the hatch and sedan as far as production goes. It will be a very strong product.”

Mr Koenig said the Fluence will most likely be launched with just one petrol engine and the choice of either manual or CVT transmissions, with the view to expand the range with a diesel option and more model derivatives later.

That means we will get the largest and most powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder version which produces 103kW.

He suggested Renault will be looking at the dual clutch transmission when a diesel version enters the equation, which is only available on the most powerful 81kW, 119g/km CO2 emitting, 1.5dCi engine.

Mr Koenig said Renault Australia has been looking at outsourcing for a couple of years because exporting from France is becoming increasingly difficult.

“We’ve been looking at what production options there are for Renault given Renault’s globalisation over the last few years. That’s going to enable us to bring product in at a better price position to make us more competitive.

“That’s one of our aims with our new Mégane range, especially with the hatch and the new small sedan.”

The Renault Fluence is expected to be released alongside the new Mégane range towards the end of this year.




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