Last year saw Renault break the 5000 sales mark in Australia for the first time in the company’s long history down-under. The Renault Megane (Renault Sport, hatch and convertible) as well as the Koleos SUV spearheaded Renault sales, with the Fluence, Trafic and Master following.
A series of finance offers, fixed priced servicing and a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty for all passenger cars (three years/200,00km for commercials) have been designed to increase Australian sales.
This year will see the French brand launch the all-new Renault Clio and Megane wagon around August and expand its LCV range (cab chassis variants of the Master). The company also recently told CarAdvice that it had signed a deal with Australia Post as its sole supplier of vans. All these factors are likely to further boost the brand’s unprecedented growth for 2013.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Geneva Motor Show, Renault Australia’s Managing Director, Justin Hocevar, said Renault is constantly on a path to rebuild the image of the brand.
“Renault had a real place in the Australian landscape going back, particularly in the 1960s and 70s," he said. "Manufacturing was local in Australia and Renault was recognized as one of the prominent European brands. So we want to see it return to a good degree of prominence."
Similar to Volkswagen Australia’s strategy, Renault aims to be a 'stylish' European offering with brand credentials and caché but without the expensive price tag.
“We don’t position it as a premium European brand, we position it as an attainable European brand,” Hocevar added.
The Paris-based manufacturer is expanding its Australian dealership network from 31 to around 40 by year’s end. Focusing on the few gaps in the metropolitan areas as well as major provisional areas where Renault is currently absent. Hocevar is optimistic about Renault’s ongoing growth expectations.
“We grew 90 percent in 2011, almost 40 percent last year, this year we would like to see a similar level of growth to last year, [but I’m] not sure if we could go as high as 30 percent plus”.
The low interest finance offers (backed by sister-brand Nissan’s captive finance company) has reportedly helped Renault gain new customers and that strategy is unlikely to change anytime soon.
“During times when customers are very concerned about their finances and the uncertainty in the global economic environment, then giving them rational reasons to backup a purchasing decision is very important.”
Next year will see Renault launch the Clio RS and GT, the new Captur urban crossover as well as an updated Megane range.